In 2016, Kid Cudi wrote a heartfelt letter to his fans saying he needed help. The musician was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, so he checked himself into a rehabilitation center.
“I’m not at peace. I haven’t been since you knew me. If I didn’t come here, I [have] did something to myself,” he explained.
But another danger lurked.
In a recently published interview with Squire, the artist revealed that two weeks after entering rehab, he suffered a stroke and was later hospitalized. It was a terrifying and traumatic event. It slowed his speech and movement so much that his manager urged him to step away from music while he underwent weeks of physiotherapy to recover.
He was 32 at the time.
While it’s young, a February 2020 article in the journal Stroke suggests that between 10% and 15% of strokes occur in people between the ages of 18 and 50. And rates among those under 45 seem to be on the rise. Recent research in the United States and Europe found that “ischemic stroke in young adults is on the rise,” according to the article.
Ischemia is one of two types of stroke. These are the most common, accounting for about 87% of strokes, according to the American Stroke Association, and they occur when a vessel supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked. Meanwhile, hemorrhagic strokes account for only about 13% of cases. They are caused by a weakened vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain. Blood pools and compresses surrounding brain tissue.
May Kim-Tenser, a neurologist at USC’s Keck Medicine, told NPR that young people are mistaken in thinking they are naturally protected against strokes. But there are factors they can control to reduce their risk.
In Cudi’s case, the entertainer has been candid about going on a cocaine binge for two weeks before checking into rehab. “When you use drugs or smoke, it raises your blood pressure, and high blood pressure can be a contributing factor,” Kim-Tenser explained.
Other reasons for the increase in strokes in young people are poor diets and more sedentary lifestyles. The latter, she noted, has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It probably didn’t help that young people were just sedentary at their jobs. They were sitting around, zooming around for meetings, not really moving around that much,” Kim-Tenser said.
Staying still for hours was one of the factors in model Hailey Bieber’s mini-stroke in March.
The 25-year-old said in a YouTube video that she was having breakfast when she suddenly felt a “strange sensation” from the top of her right shoulder to her fingertips. One side of her face drooped for about 30 seconds and she lost the ability to speak for some time.
Doctors ultimately concluded that she suffered a “perfect storm” of conditions that likely caused a transient ischemic attack (TIA) – a brief blockage of blood supply to the brain – often called a mini-stroke by doctors.
In the days leading up to the TIA, Bieber had flown from Paris to Los Angeles without getting up to walk or move on the plane. She had also recently recovered from COVID-19, which some researchers say produces blood clots. Finally, Bieber had also started taking birth control pills, “which I should never have taken because I’m a migraine sufferer anyway,” she noted, adding that she doesn’t. hadn’t spoken to his doctor.
Bieber, who is considered an influencer in all things beauty and style, said she hopes her video will help others understand how to recognize the signs of a stroke and share resources for anyone “going through something similar”.
Kim-Tenser said spreading the word is imperative to understanding stroke prevention.
“Obviously there are genetic causes, but there are also things we can change,” she said. “Just moving your body is probably one of the best things you can do, and you could probably reduce the risk with diet and exercise.”
And if someone is actively experiencing acute stroke symptoms, Kim-Tenser has three words to remember: “Time is the brain!”
In such emergency situations, do not call on your relatives for help. Call 911 immediately, she said, because the sooner a patient can get to the emergency room, the sooner doctors can start administering stroke protocols.