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'Everybody should be scared:' Central Florida doctor says anyone can suffer from stroke

After death of actor Luke Perry, stroke remains important topic of conversation

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – "Everybody should be scared,” Dr. Latha Ganti, from Osceola Regional Medical Center, said about the possibility of suffering a stroke.

She said the fear of having a stroke is often unfairly reserved for seniors or patients with diabetes.

"Fifty-two actually is not that unusual to have a stroke,” Ganti said, referring to the tragic death of actor Luke Perry.

The '90s heartthrob best known for his role in the hit series “Beverly Hills, 90210” suffered a massive stroke and died earlier this month. 

[RELATED: Was Luke Perry too young for a stroke? No, they can happen at any ageThe warning signs of a stroke]

Ganti said celebrity deaths like Perry’s are horrible examples of how stroke can affect even seemingly healthy individuals. 

It was a lesson Phillip Deems, News 6’s creative development director, learned at the age of 44.

"It was almost like vibration in your head. It's like vibrations and tingliness all over your body,” Deems said, describing the feeling he remembered while walking with his wife around a furniture store.

Deems said he had no reason to blame stroke. He exercised five days a week, had normal blood pressure and no diabetes. 

He said even the emergency staff at the hospital seemed stumped when his wife told them about his symptoms.

[MORE: Orlando doctor talks pancreatic cancer after 'Jeopardy' host's diagnosisWhy pancreatic cancer is so deadly]

“She said, 'OK, this is not normal. My husband usually goes 70 miles a minute and he can't talk, he can't read, he can't put a sentence together by texting people, something’s wrong,'” Deems said.

Doctors ran tests and discovered Deems had a hole in his heart, and a blood clot had escaped through the hole and made its way to his brain.

"If you want to see the face of stroke, look in the mirror,” Deems said.

Ganti created an acronym to help people remember the modifiable risk factors for stroke. She said stay away from the stuff that is "So Bad" for you.
 
S- Smoking. Every form of smoking including vaping, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and the chemicals associated will put you at a higher risk for stroke. Get rid of it.

O- Obesity. Staying sedentary will predispose you to stroke. Get active.

B- Blood Pressure. Elevated blood pressure accounts for 75 percent of all strokes, no matter your age. If a doctor gives you medication for blood pressure, take it.

A- Alcohol and Atrial fibrillation. One drink a day for women, or two drinks a day for men is considered excessive and will raise your risk for stroke.

D-Drugs, Diabetes, Diet. Heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, ecstasy will all increase your risk for stroke. 
 


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