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39-Year-Old Mom Shares Surprising Stroke Symptoms: "Felt Like I Was Drunk"

Jenna Gibson is telling her story to help others recognize potential warning signs.

Having a stroke at any age is a frightening prospect, but it's even more concerning to hear about it happening to relatively young people. According to Mass General Brigham, the number of strokes in Americans younger than 49 has been steadily increasing over the past 30 years. Young women, in particular, have a disproportionately increased risk of strokes than men. With that in mind, you want to be aware of any potential signs of a stroke—especially those that aren't as common. Now, a mom of two in Michigan is sharing her surprising stroke symptoms to help educate others.

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Jenna Gibson was just 39 when she had a stroke, telling Fox News Digital that she was compelled to tell her story after learning about the uptick in strokes in younger people.

Ahead of her stroke, Gibson said she was training for a marathon, and on the day of the incident, she was actually feeling great. However, she started to feel strange while out for an evening walk with her mother.

"We were talking about how I was training for the Detroit marathon for my 40th birthday, and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, it felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks," Gibson told the outlet, explaining that she then stopped walking and fell onto the grass.

After her mother helped Gibson up, the 39-year-old couldn't walk straight. "I felt like I was drunk—something just wasn't right," she told Fox News Digital.

When the pair returned home, Gibson said she thought she had a migraine, prompting her to take some medication and go to sleep.

But she woke up within a few hours and didn't feel right, unable to get herself out of bed or move. Gibson then went to the emergency room, where her mother explained the situation to doctors and said she was worried Gibson had had a stroke.

"They checked me over, did all the tests, and didn't see the typical signs that they would be looking for," Gibson recalled. "Part of it was because I was young."

She also didn't have the most common symptoms, like a drooping face, and was still able to walk a bit and speak a few words.

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The first computed tomography (CT) scan led Gibson's medical team to believe that she was having an optic migraine. However, a second scan showed blockage in the left side of the brain, and that she was "actively having a stroke."

With Gibson's life in danger, she was transferred to another hospital and had emergency brain surgery to remove the clot. When she woke up, she couldn't speak or move her right side, telling Fox News Digital that she was "trapped in [her] head."

Thankfully, with ample therapy, Gibson recovered. And while she is still numb on her right side and struggles to find the right words on occasion, she now looks "like a normal person" from the outside, Gibson told Fox News Digital.

While Gibson's case was more of an anomaly, there are several well-known stroke symptoms, which you can remember using the F.A.S.T. acronym. According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), this stands for face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty, and time to call 911. The organization also cites other symptoms, such as numbness, confusion, trouble seeing, severe headache, and trouble walking—a few of which Gibson did experience.

It's worth noting that Gibson's surprising symptoms may also be related to her sex. Per the ASA, men and women have a lot of the same stroke symptoms, but women also report general weakness, disorientation or confusion, as well as fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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