33-year-old survives 2 strokes in 3 months

May 15, 2018 07:17 AM

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in America, claiming one life every four minutes. 

And before you think you’re safe because of age, think again. Nearly 25 percent of strokes are occurring in people under the age of 65, according to the CDC.

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A Honeoye Falls resident learned the hard way after experiencing two strokes in three months at age 33. 

“My heart dropped because I was only 33 years old have a 3-year-old and a 14 year-old stepson,” said MaKenna Rosati. “It was nerve-racking. Terrifying actually.”

So what triggered her strokes at a young age? Smoking, birth control and stress. 

In under two years she coped with a premature birth followed by losing her grandfather and father in under two years. Her own dad died of a heart attack. 

“This was my dad telling me to get my life where it needs to be,” said Rosati. “I stopped smoking, I started with a personal trainer. I’ve been walking, trying to be healthier, eat healthier.”

The scariest part of the 33-year-old’s experience, her first stroke had subtle symptoms she brushed off. 

“I was trick-or-treating with my friends and my 3-year-old son and I kept dropping his bag,” explained the young mom. “I thought it was a pinched nerve.” 

The good news is nearly 90-percent of them are preventable.

According to Dr. Chris Burke, Chair of Neurology at Rochester General Hospital, the two types of risk factors for strokes are medical and lifestyle. 

Medical risks include high blood pressure or cholesterol and diabetes.  Lifestyle risks include smoking, heavy drinking, diet, sedentary lifestyle, and stress. 

“If you modify those things we can reduce the risk of stroke by 90 percent,” said Dr. Burke. 

As for stroke symptoms, doctors use the acronym FAST which stands for facial droop, arm weakness, speech changes and time.

“Miles of brain tissue is burning off in every minute that goes by so the sooner you get back to the emergency department the faster we can intervene,” explained Dr. Burke. 

“Put yourself first, take care of yourself, for your kids and everybody else,” encouraged Rosati. 

In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month Rosati has also been invited to throw the first pitch at the Rochester Red Wings game on Saturday evening. 


Beth Cefalu

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