HEALTHY LIVING
05/30/2013 04:56 pm ET Updated Sep 17, 2013

26-Year-Old Twins Suffer Strokes Within 9 Months Of Each Other

A pair of 26-year-old twins experienced strokes within nine months of each other.

Kathryn Tucker, the first of the fraternal twins to endure a stroke, felt a sharp pain in the back of her head before she went to bed in July of 2012, ABC News reports.

After experiencing impaired vision, she went to the nearby hospital in Tempe, Ariz., and was later discharged from the emergency room. However, when she woke up after sleeping for three days, her vision was worse.

"Everything was distorted and one-dimensional. I could barely get around," she told the outlet. It was later determined she endured a stroke.

Nine months later, Kathryn's twin sister, Kimberly, experienced almost identical symptoms -- though on the left side of her head.

"The EMT's told me that the chance of both me and my sister having a stroke this young was that of being struck by lightning twice," Kimberly told ABC News.

Visit ABC News to learn more about the 26-year-old twins' stories.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 800,000 people dying annually from strokes and cardiovascular disease.

As the CDC website notes:

Genes play a role in the development of risk factors that can lead to a stroke, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and vascular conditions. An increased risk for stroke within a family may also be due to common behavioral factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle or poor eating habits. Thus, family health history is an important tool for identifying people at increased risk for stroke because it reflects both an individual’s genes and shared environmental risk factors.

As evidenced by the Tucker twins, strokes do not just affect older people.

In 2012, Dr. Brett Kissela, a neurologist and American Academy of Neurology member, published a National Institutes of Health-funded study on the incidence of strokes among younger adults. His team found that the proportion of strokes in younger adults (under 55) increased by about 7 percent over a 12-year period.

"Our thinking is that probably the young stroke [patients] we're seeing are experiencing risk factors at a younger age -- diabetes and obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol," Kissela told The Huffington Post.

With the rate of strokes among younger adults on the rise, it is even more important to control for lifestyle habits, such as alcohol consumption, smoking and daily exercise, the National Stroke Association notes.

"It's worth going to your doctor. A lot of young people don't go to doctors for a lot of reasons," Kissela said. "But it's a good investment."

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