Young stroke patient speaks about warning signs 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Did you know strokes kill around 140,000 people in the U.S. every year? Even someone who is the picture of health can suffer a stroke.

Buntin family

One young mother in Memphis, Tennessee, said knowing the warning signs for a stroke saved her life.

Stephanie Buntin gets emotional talking about the April morning her husband drove her to the emergency room at Methodist after she began experiencing symptoms of a stroke.

"I couldn't pick my arm up off my leg. My husband is like, 'Grab my hand, hold my hand. I can't reach to grab your hand.' I was just looking at it like it was not a part of my body," she said.

The 39-year-old mom of three was diagnosed with a torn artery in her neck a few weeks before these symptoms. She complained about a sore neck and severe, pulsating pain on the side of her head.

Buntin was referred to Dr. Andrei Alexandrov with the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Methodist.

"The best we can figure out is that she was moving furniture and doing some sort of very strenuous activity, and that put strain right here and one of the arteries can be snapped like a tree branch," Dr. Alexandrov said.

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He immediately put her on blood thinners, told her she was now at risk for a stroke and drilled into her the warning signs: "Weakness on one side of the body, the face gets droopy, speech gets kind of garbled, the person cannot say something."

Because Buntin recognized the symptoms and got the hospital right away, doctors were able to administer a clot busting drug that not only saved her life but reversed what was happening to her body.

"Within 45 minutes I had gained my mobility back and the left side headache was gone, so at that point we had adverted a stroke," Buntin said.

Doctors say it could take months for the artery to heal and there are many activities she can no longer do.

She is now sharing her story to let others know a stroke can happen to anyone at any age.

"I thought strokes were for older people. I thought strokes were for unhealthy people, people that smoke, older people like my grandparents. It never crossed my mind that I could have a stroke," Buntin warned.

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