Woman suffers two strokes before the age of 25

She may not look like it, Sarah Porter is a stroke survivor. The 26-year-old from Portland, Maine, suffered from 2 strokes before her 25th birthday. But now, she's working to educate others about her unimaginable, but fortunate, story.

Porter was only 20 when she suffered her first stroke. She was sitting in class at the University of Maine when she went "foggy" . Porter's face was twitching, she had a headache and felt a tingling sensation in her arm. But when she tried to stand, she quickly noticed she "had lost all feeling in her right side". After calling her parents, who are both doctors, she went to the ER.

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"Even I didn't think that something like stroke could happen to someone my age, young and healthy," Porter explained to Inside Edition. By the time she reached the hospital, Porter couldn't speak at all -- but the triage nurse thought she was faking it.

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Stroke risk factors and stroke symptoms
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Stroke risk factors and stroke symptoms

Strokes are more common among the elderly, with the chance of stroke nearly doubling each decade after the age of 55. 

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Stroke risk is greater in those whose immediate family members have had a stroke, and a stroke can be a symptom of various hereditary disorders.

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The risk of death from stroke is higher in African-Americans as they also have higher risks of complications like high blood pressure and diabetes. 

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Women are also more likely to die of a stroke, possibly due to factors such as birth control usage and pregnancy complications.

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Strokes are more likely in people who have already suffered a stroke or a heart attack. 

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Southeastern states are also called the "stroke belt" states, as strokes are more common in this area. 

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Alcohol abuse can lead to many problems, including strokes. 

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Speech difficulties are a major symptom of someone who has had or is having a stroke.

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Possibly the most noticeable sign of stroke is the drooping of one side of the face, or face numbness.

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Weakness on one side of the body is another symptom of a stroke. 

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A doctor realized the commotion and quickly assessed the situation. 24 hours later, she woke up in the ICU to learn she suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. While it only counts for 15 percent of all strokes, a hemorrhagic stroke can be responsible for 40 percent of all stroke-related deaths.

Nearly 75% of stroke victims are older than 65 and have preexisting medical conditions, such as smoking, obesity and high blood pressure. But what about a seemingly fit 20-year-old?

In Porter's case, doctors found that Porter had "cavernoma", a malformation in her brain consisting of an abnormal amount of blood vessels. Doctors couldn't operate, and so her chances of suffering another stroke were high.

A few years later, at 24, it happened again. Luckily, Porter understood her symptoms. "I walked to the hospital and walked into the ER and said, 'Hi, my name is Sarah Porter, I'm 24 years old, I had a stroke four years ago and I'm having another one right now."

Now, at 26, Porter is striving to educate others, mainly younger people, about these common symptoms. "I am not the picture of a stroke survivor," she said.

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