Aqualyn Laury has been a stroke survivor for nearly twenty years.
And she's on a mission to teach others about the risks.
"My history of blood clots in my family is what led to my situation," Laury said. "I was walking across campus my freshman year; I noticed that things looked a little different. Everything was more vibrant. I asked one of my classmates something about class. When I opened my mouth, the the only thing that came out was blah blah blah blah, " she added.
Aqualyn had a stroke. and she was only 19 years old.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, or bursts. With lack of oxygen, that part of the brain becomes damaged or dies.
Cardiologist Dr. Winston Gandy says it is a common misconception that younger people don't get strokes. He says advances in technology may be responsible for identifying a larger number of them.
"We're seeing an increase in the amount of strokes that are reported in that population of individuals in the 15-40 range,"
said Dr. Gandy.
For some, cardiovascular disease may be to blame; race and heredity can't be changed, but lifestyle choices can be controlled.
It was after Aqualyn's stroke that she learned that the paternal side of her family all died from stroke. She encourages everyone to know their family history, and share that with the younger people.