Stroke Rates Rise Among Middle-Aged Americans

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By Ethan Kibbe

ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – When Erie News Now hits the air every night, Director Bob Bohen is at the helm. But in late March, the man who times out our shows to the second suddenly lost a half hour, completely zoned out at home.

“I have no idea what happened,” he said. “I don’t know if I passed out. I don’t think I passed out.”

Unaware of what happened, he still came to work that night, but by the next day, he knew something was wrong and went to the hospital.

“Once you hear that you have had a stroke, it becomes your normal,” Bohen said.

He’s only 60, but local doctors say middle-aged stroke victims are becoming more common.

“What I’m seeing more now is stroke in younger people, meaning that it is not just a disease of the elderly,” said Doctor Trevor Phinney of UPMC Hamot. “It is a disease of all ages, for various reasons, including uncontrolled high blood pressure. ”

That’s what happened to Bohen.

Over time, high blood pressure created a blockage in an artery leading to his brain.

“I took a blood pressure test here at work about a week before, and it was sky high,” he said. “To the point where Emily Matson said to me, ‘You need to go to the doctor and get that checked out.’ Of course I didn’t.”

Doctors were able to clear his clot, and he’s expected to make a full recovery, but it’s been a long process, and effects still linger.

“My voice isn’t as strong as it was before,” he said. “I still have weakness on my left side. I have a little bit of spatial awareness issues on my left side, like sometimes I will walk into doorways.”

For months he’s been back here at work, doing what he does best.


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