Newberg mother, 30, part of growing number of young stroke victi - KPTV - FOX 12

Newberg mother, 30, part of growing number of young stroke victims in U.S.

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Kimberly Mihaylov, 30, joined the growing number of younger Americans that have had a stroke after suffering a small tear in an artery wall following a minor car accident. (KPTV) Kimberly Mihaylov, 30, joined the growing number of younger Americans that have had a stroke after suffering a small tear in an artery wall following a minor car accident. (KPTV)
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NEWBERG, OR (KPTV) -

Slowly and carefully, Kimberly Mihaylov takes one step at a time, climbing the stairs in her two-story home.

The 30-year-old Newberg mother of two is one of a growing number of young Americans who have suffered strokes.

Doctors aren't sure why the numbers are going up, but they do know that every 40 seconds in the United States someone suffers a stroke and that strokes are the leading cause of disability in the country.

Kimberly suffered her stroke in the middle of the night. Her husband and two young daughters were asleep, and she was working at the computer in the den. 

Kimberly said that her neck felt stiff, then she moved her neck and that's when it happened. She could no longer see out of one eye, and she couldn't move or speak.

"I slumped over on the couch, and I don't know how but I stood up and I just fell to the ground,” she said. “I couldn't talk. I couldn't yell. In my head I'm calling for my husband and nothing's coming out."

Kimberly was just a few feet away from where her husband was sleeping, but she couldn't reach him. For 20 minutes, she tried to move and scream for help.

“I was desperately trying to find a way to make noise, to cry, to yell, anything,” she said. “And I finally found a way to get some sound out.”

After she finally awakened her husband, he got her to the hospital where she was given clot-busting medicine. Later she was sent to the Neurocritical Care Unit at St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland.

So what happened? Why did a perfectly healthy young woman have a stroke?

Providence Stroke Neurologist John Zurasky said Kimberly's stroke was caused by a small tear in an artery wall.  That tear, he said, was the result of a minor trauma, caused by a minor fender-bender that Kimberly was involved in three weeks before her stroke.

Kimberly had been suffering intense neck pain and headaches since the car accident, and Dr. Zurasky said that when a young healthy person starts suffering that kind of severe pain and has never had pain like that before, that's a sign that something is terribly wrong.

Following the car accident, Kimberly said she was not focused on her own health, because her baby daughter needed heart surgery. Fortunately, Kimberly will probably make a full recovery and both mother and daughter are on the mend.

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