Stroke Survivor, Pam Mace Fights for those with FMD

Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD), rare disease can be cause of stroke.

I'm sharing my story because I think it's important for you to realize that anyone can have a stroke.  I was in great shape and exercised daily.  And yet it happened to me.  It could happen to you too.

At the age of 37, I suffered a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or mini stroke.  The day it happened, I woke up with a headache.  Later I noticed my pupils were unequal and my blood pressure was higher than normal.  Next I felt dizzy and had a tight sensation in my head, along with numbness on the left side of my face.

I should have gone to the hospital right away but I didn’t.  I had the classic stroke symptoms but I ignored them because I just didn't think I could have a stroke.  But I did.

Because I waited so long to go to the hospital, my blood pressure continued to rise.  This caused me to tear three of the four arteries that supply blood to the brain.  Which basically means that the high blood pressure wore down my arteries and reduced the blood flow to my brain.  Because of the tears I then formed aneurysms (balloon like bulges in the artery wall) along with other complications.  Had I gone to the emergency room at the first sign of symptoms, I could have prevented the further damage.

I'm very fortunate to have survived without any disabilities or problems.  At the time of my TIA, I did not have high blood pressure.  The very fact that my blood pressure was high should have been a warning sign to me, along with my other symptoms, of course.

Stroke Survivor, Pam Mace

I have since been diagnosed with high blood pressure and a rare disease called Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD).  FMD is a medical disorder where some of the arteries that carry blood throughout the body do not develop as they should.  Growths in the wall of the arteries cause them to narrow. As a result, blood flow through the arteries decreases.  FMD is a cause of stroke.

The worst part of my story is that I'm a nurse and I know the symptoms of stroke.  I just didn't think it could happen to me so I waited.

Please don't ignore your body. As an emergency room nurse, I can tell you we would rather you come in and get checked and find nothing than have you wait it out at home only to have a stroke and maybe life long disabilities or worse, you might die.

You have only three hours from the first stroke symptoms to get to an emergency room to be treated with drugs that can possibly reverse the damage.  Make sure you and your family know the signs and symptoms of stroke. And remember it can happen to you.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones!



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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.