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Symptoms of a mini stroke at age 19?



Something strange happened to me earlier today. I asked someone`s opinion and they said that my symptoms matched those of a mini stroke. Although what happened doesn`t seem quite as serious as some of the effects described on this website, I`m still concerned and hoping you could give some advice.

My boss was driving the two of us to lunch earlier today and it was on the way to the restaurant that I noticed something peculiar happening with my vision. Everything suddenly got hazy and out of focus. It wasn`t necessarily the loss of depth perception and ability to focus that had me worried. When I would look at an object I had a very difficult time identifying it. It was nearly impossible for me to distinguish young people from old, and men from women. It felt like part of my brain wasn`t functioning, though I was otherwise completely coherent. I tried looking at the menu, and could only focus on one letter at a time, and so I had to piece the words together letter by letter. When I looked at someone`s face I could focus on one of their eyes or their nose, but I couldn`t look at their face in its entirety, and thus had a hard time recognizing people.

It may sound crazy, but it was very frightening. I`m thankful that it only lasted about thirty minutes. I`m only nineteen years old and in good shape, so I`m not sure what it could have been.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you


It is not possible to say with certainty what happened to you. The list of possibilities from a neurologist’s perspective is fairly short, and would include a transient ischemic attack (TIA), seizure, migraine headache or equivalent (migraine like symptoms/aura without a following headache), or non-neurological problems (such as a problem with the eye/eyes, panic attack, etc.). I would suggest that you see a physician about this urgently (like today). It may turn out to be nothing of importance, but you would not want to miss something important.

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Response by:

Brett   Kissela, MD Brett Kissela, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Director, Neurology Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati