Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

OU Medicine neurosurgeon speaks on stroke risks in younger patients

OKLAHOMA CITY - With the recent deaths of 'Boyz in the Hood' director John Singleton and '90210' actor Luke Perry, deadly strokes have been in the headlines a lot lately.

Many are saying the men, who were in their 50s and appeared healthy, were too young to have this problem.

However, a local neurosurgeon said they're far from the youngest stroke victims he's seen.

Dr. Brad Bohnstedt is a neurosurgeon at OU Medical Center.

He's been there less than a decade but, during his time there, he's seen folks of all ages, from 1 year to 90 plus, suffer strokes.

"This particular child that I'm thinking of had a hemorrhagic stroke from an aneurysm - a subarachnoid hemorrhage," Bohnstedt said.

That life-threatening and fast-acting form of a stroke is certainly cause for concern.

Bohnstedt said detection is key and encourages everyone to remember the acronym 'FAST.'

It stands for:

Face drooping
Arm weakness
Speech difficulty
Time to call

"So, getting to a comprehensive stroke center or even a primary stroke center as fast as possible is critical after you notice those symptoms," Bohnstedt said.

In fact, before Bohnstedt's interview with News 4, he performed an intricate but effective procedure on a patient with AFib who had a clot travel to their brain.

"We went with catheters from the groin right up to the head and, with the use of a suction device, were able to capture that clot and to pull it out of the body," he said. "And, right there on the table, the patient started waking up at that point in time."

To prevent strokes, he said it's important to know your family history and keep a healthy lifestyle.

"Keeping your blood pressure low, eating the right foods, minimizing the red meats in your diet, keeping your cholesterol low, one of the greatest risk factors is smoking," Bohnstedt said.

If you suspect someone is suffering from a stroke, call 911 for help.

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