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Felix Quintero

Feb. 13, 2018, is a day that Felix Quintero will not soon forget. It was the day he had a stroke at age 36. “I was scared, confused and everything else,” said Felix, whose life erupted in chaos shortly after 4 a.m. when he woke up, took a step to get ready for work and fell. “My whole left side was numb. I had no strength, and I couldn’t move. My wife tried to pick me up, but she couldn’t get me back on the bed. I knew right away it was something bad,” Felix said.

Felix will never forget the sights and sounds from that day. The fire alarm was blaring – his wife Mayra had set it off to help paramedics find their new house, which was not on Google Maps yet. The piercing sound woke Felix’s 9-year-old son Ryan, who ran into the master bedroom and found his stepfather lying helpless on the floor. Felix watched the panic spread across the faces of his wife and son. “I went from feeling fine one day to having my body go unresponsive the next,” he said. While it may seem unusual that someone so young would have a stroke, they can occur at any age. A recent study in JAMA Neurology, a monthly medical journal published by the American Medical Association, found that hospitalization rates for the most common type of stroke, where a clot blocks blood from flowing to the brain, are increasing for both men and women under age 45.

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