Stroke at the age of 24 - on the trail of an enigmatic illness

Stroke at the age of 24 - on the trail of an enigmatic illness

Just recently, the death of musician Roger Cicero has shown in a shocking way that a stroke cannot only affect old, sick people. The cause of a cerebral infarction is not always in risk factors such as high blood pressure, overweight or smoking. The 29-year-old Meike Mittmeyer Riehl from Münster in southern Hesse also had to experience this painful experience. In March 2012, she collapsed with hemiplegia after playing tennis. In the Darmstadt Clinic, the bad suspicion is confirmed: it is a stroke.

At the age of only 24, as a young, slim, sporty woman and convinced non-smoker - impossible! A split of the carotid artery - a so-called spontaneous dissection - triggered her infarction: extremely rare, little researched, but one of the most common causes of strokes in young patients without typical risk factors.

Because none of her doctors can answer the pressing question of "why", the journalist sets out to track down an enigmatic illness and meets doctors and geneticists who research it. It is believed that the spontaneous dissection is related to an incurable change in connective tissue - which means that a vein that supplies the brain could split at any time and cause further strokes. In her dogged search, the journalist finds that modern medicine does not yet have any clear answers. The uncertainty and the desperate attempt to find an explanation gradually plunge the young woman into a mental illness.

Only this hard setback forces them to really deal with everything that has happened. The present book “Der Spalt: Wie mich - 24, slim, sporty, non-smoker - the blow struck” developed from this reappraisal, relentlessly and courageously disclosing the experiences of the past four years. It was her aspiration not only to share her harrowing story with others, but also to explain the rare cause of stroke in younger patients. “I want to clear up the myth that a stroke can only affect old, sick people. Almost everyone believes that, even many doctors, as I know from other sufferers, ”says the author.

“I was very lucky myself because the rescue chain worked perfectly: I was in the Darmstadt Stroke Unit within a very short time and received blood-thinning medication. As a result, I hardly carried any permanent damage back, ”reports MittmeyerRiehl. “Unfortunately, not everyone affected is so lucky. That is why it is so important to know the symptoms and act immediately - whether it is a child or a senior. ”(Pm)

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