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Women & Stroke: A Deadly Combination

Stroke is often thought of as an old man's disease. But more women than men die from it, and many factors (birth control pills, hormone therapy and pregnancy) put us at risk. Learn the key facts to protect yourself.
Women & Stroke

It was 7:30 on a November evening four years ago, and Kimberly Dunne had just finished her 12-hour shift as an emergency room nurse at St. Mary's Medical Center in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. It had been a grueling day in the ER, and she just wanted to get home to her husband, Jerry, and their daughters, Kiera, now 8, and Erin, 6.

As she started the seven-minute drive home, she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Her left leg had fallen asleep. She shook it and stomped her foot, but the tingling persisted. Then she reached for the left turn signal. She couldn't seem to put her hand on it. Kim started to panic. Her experience told her this was a stroke symptom. I'm too young! I'm only 31. I can't be having a stroke!

She grabbed her phone with her right hand and hit speed-dial.

"Jerry! I'm having a problem," she whimpered. Except that it came out all garbled.

"Kim?" Jerry asked. "Honey? Have you been drinking?"

She cried harder. She knew exactly where she was, but she was unable to tell him. By the time she miraculously pulled into her driveway, her left side was completely paralyzed. Jerry opened the car door, moved her to the passenger seat, bundled the girls into the car, and raced back to St. Mary's.