Young stroke survivor encourages others to learn the warning signs

Pregnant women are three times more likely to have a stroke compared to other women their age, according to medical experts.
WSMV's Joylyn Bukovac reports.
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 12:04 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - At 29 years old, Meagan Brasher had a stroke. Brasher said she did not expect the onset of symptoms since she was young and healthy.

“As I was walking out the door and grabbed my water bottle and car keys, that’s when I had my stroke,” Brasher said, adding several symptoms hit her all at once. “I was very dizzy. I couldn’t really walk; I couldn’t see. Everything was very blurry, and I called my husband. This was six in the morning. So, I called my husband who was upstairs asleep. I told him something was massively wrong. ‘Please come downstairs.’”

Within minutes, Brasher said she was at the hospital getting blood clot-busting medicine.

“I was pretty much, thankfully, back to normal that evening. I think the speed at which I recognized something was wrong and got help really was instrumental in my recovery,” Brasher said.

It’s been about 7 years since Brasher had a stroke. She’s now a mom to a 2-year-old and she is and pregnant again. Brasher does have to take extra medical precautions with her medical history.

In fact, pregnant women are three times more likely to have a stroke compared to other women their age. Brasher wants all moms to take their health seriously and to know the signs of a stroke.

“It’s just human nature as a mom to put other people’s needs before ourselves. It’s just really important to understand. Empower yourself with knowledge,” Brasher said. “Advocate for yourself. When you go to the doctor, if anything feels wrong, don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Dr. John Witt, a Neurologist for TriStar Health, said on average, one in 3,000 pregnant women will have a stroke.

“The key symptoms that we tell people to look for, for warning signs and early symptoms of stroke, can be expressed with the acronym ‘FAST,’” Witt said. “‘F’ stands for facial droop, where one side of the face droops. ‘A’ is for ‘arm.’ It’s an arm drift, or weakness. So, if a person holds their arms out in front of them like this, one side may drift down or even be completely paralyzed. ‘S’ stands for ‘speech,’ so it’s any disturbance in speech, slurred speech, or difficulty getting words out. ‘T’ is for ‘time.’”

If you experience those symptoms, Witt says it’s important to call 911 and get help right away.

He also encourages pregnant women suffering with migraines to get checked out by a doctor because this could be an early warning sign of stroke.