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West Michigan mom raising awareness of stroke on National Wear Red Day

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Posted at 4:16 PM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 18:44:28-05

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Friday, Feb. 4 is National Wear Red Day, aimed at raising awareness of heart disease and stroke in women to save lives.

It's a cause that's personal to Kati Missman, after suffering a stroke at 27 years old.

"It was so frustrating because I couldn't say anything except for something's not right," recalled Missman. "No history of stroke, really heart disease in my family... so it was all really confusing."

Missman was at work in October 2014 when she started feeling symptoms.

"I couldn't focus. Like, everything was blurry. I was having really bad pressure in the back of my head. Like, kind of like tension and stress," she said.

Fortunately, she knew the signs of stroke and was able to get to the hospital within 45 minutes.

"[Health workers] were like, 'You can't be having a stroke. You're 27; like, this isn't right,'" Missman told FOX 17 News. "When you have a stroke, you only have an hour window to get to the hospital, to be able to have tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), which is a blood clot, bursting drug."

MEDICAL MOMENT: Stroke Awareness and Prevention

Missman spent the weekend in the hospital and was grateful to quickly resume life as normal.

Within a year, she went on to become a YMCA group fitness instructor. She's also welcomed two little boys into her family, despite being deemed "high risk" due to her stroke history.

Nowadays, Missman sees a cardiologist once a year and continues to raise awareness by sharing her story.

"One in five women has a stroke, and that's just baffling to me. Like, why aren't those the statistics I was given out of the hospital? It's likely that you're going to know somebody that has a stroke, and knowing the signs of a stroke is so important. Literally, it's a lifesaver.

If you or someone you know may be suffering a stroke, remember the word FAST.

F — is for face drooping. Is one side of the face drooping or numb?

A — is for arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb?

S — is for speech difficulty. Is speech slurred?

T — If you recognize these signs, T stands for "time to call 911."

According to the American Stroke Association, 80 percent of stroke and heart disease is preventable.

To learn more, click here.

To learn more about the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" initiative, clickhere.

RELATED: Telestroke Services at Spectrum Health

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