When Stacey Yepes felt numbness in her face and couldn’t speak properly, she thought she was having a stroke; but tests at her emergency room came back all clear, and doctors said her symptoms were likely stress-related. So when the 49-year-old Canadian woman felt a wave of the same symptoms just two days later, on April 2, she decided to record a selfie video of what was happening to her.
Toronto’s University Health Network on June 10 posted Yepes' recording to YouTube, hoping to show the public the importance of spotting stroke warning signs
The video shows Yepes in her car, telling the camera she can't feel the left side of her face. "The sensation is happening again. ... It’s all tingling on left side," she says.
After recording her symptoms, Yepes went to the emergency room at the Mount Sinai Hospital in downtown Toronto and was referred to the stroke unit at Toronto Western Hospital, where she was told she was having a mini-stroke.
“We’ve never had a patient do this before,” Dr. Cheryl Jaigobin, a stroke neurologist the hospital’s Krembil Neuroscience Centre, told Canada's National Post in reference to Yepes' video.
“And I guess for a patient who wanted someone to believe her symptoms were real, it was absolutely incredible,” Jaigobin went on. “When we saw Stacey’s videotape, we were all touched by it and absolutely convinced that her deficits were clearly because of a mini stroke.”
According to UHN, a mini-stroke (also known as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA) is considered a warning sign that a more serious stroke could happen. Doctors believe Yepes' episode was likely brought on by blood clots.
Though Yepes is relatively young for a stroke victim, strokes have become more common among those in younger age groups, due to the increasing prevalence of elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. According to the Stroke Center at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, 28 percent of people who suffer a stroke are under the age of 65.