A YOUNG woman who suffered a stroke at the age of 33 is warning others to be more aware of the signs.
Liz Donohue (34) initially thought she was suffering from a migraine when she woke with a vicious headache at her Galway home on March 12 last.
But two days later, when the pain hadn't reduced and her speech became seriously impaired, Liz was very concerned.
"It was Thursday morning when I decided that I needed to go to the doctor, but when I looked for their number online I realised I couldn't spell their name or even the word doctor," she explained.
Liz managed to call a taxi and, despite rapidly losing her ability to speak, was able to direct them to the surgery.
"The minute he (the doctor) heard me speak, I was brought directly to the hospital."
Tests found Liz had suffered a stroke, possibly caused by a undiagnosed hole in the heart.
"It didn't really make any sense what they were saying. To my mind, people my age didn't have strokes. I exercised five days a week and ate healthily. I was an ex-smoker and I didn't drink much," she said.
Liz remained off work for three months and attended weekly speech therapy sessions to regain her speech.
"For me, getting back to work was getting back to me," she said. She has also increased her healthy eating and exercise levels and climbed Croagh Patrick in July for St Vincent de Paul.
Liz is now urging more women like her to stay alert for less well-known signs of stroke, such as migraines and problems with speech,