KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kansas native and current country singer Chely Wright revealed that she suffered a stroke after her 48th birthday.
In a Twitter post urging women to know the signs of the disease, the singer said she had a migraine for three days last year shortly after she turned 48.
After dropping her sons off to school, she went to the emergency room at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital, where doctors performed tests and confirmed what she’d suspected — a stroke.
“I sort of knew it. What I had been experiencing with that headache and leading up to that headache was different. I’d even said aloud to myself in the bathroom mirror, ‘Did you have a stroke?'"
That was a year ago Friday — and she’s OK now, the 49-year-old said.
Erin McCoy of Kansas City, Kansas, also suffered a stroke in her 40s.
"My dog was there licking my face trying to wake me up, and I was laying on the floor. I do not remember the day of the stroke. I do not remember the 10 days after," McCoy said of her April 2017 stroke.
Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide. Doctors urge people to remember the acronym FAST in strokes: F for facial droop, A for arm weakness or tingling, S for speech difficulty and T for time to call 911.
"We see the unfortunate scenarios of people putting off the symptoms for days and finally present to the emergency department, and at that point it`s usually too late for us to do anything about it," said Dr. Laith Maali, a University of Kansas Health System neurologist.
If seen in the first four hours, doctors can use clot busting medication to reduce or reverse the effects of the stroke.
Two years removed from her stroke, McCoy calls the country star brave for coming forward with her stroke story.
"It helps to know you are not alone," McCoy said.
McCoy's stroke blinded her for some time. The former rock climber and geologist who traveled the world with her husband collecting rocks now has simpler goals in mind as she relearns motor function.
"It took me two years to be able to do it but I can use the step stool in the kitchen," McCoy said.
Though the stroke was life altering, she's just glad it wasn't life ending.
"I did all this before I was 40 and I want to do more. I don`t know if I`ll get there but I`m trying my best," she said.
Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity and other cardiovascular diseases put people at greater risk for stroke. Avoiding diets with high calories, lots of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium can reduce the risk, experts say.
For women there are some other higher risk times, during and immediately after pregnancy, when on birth control and if you are undergoing any hormone replacement therapy.