A 49-year-old Canadian who took a selfie video as she was experiencing a ministroke is being credited by doctors for helping them diagnose her.
In April, Stacey Yepes of Thornhill, Ontario, went to the emergency room after she felt numbness in her face and had trouble speaking, the CBC reports. But when the symptoms subsided and tests for a stroke came up negative, doctors told her it was likely stress.
Two days later while Yepes was driving, she felt numbness on the left side of her body. She pulled over and began recording the symptoms on her phone.
"The sensation is happening again," Yepes says in the video, posted to YouTube by Toronto’s University Health Network. "It’s all tingling on left side."
Yepes then tries, unsuccessfully, to smile and lift her hand.
"I don’t know why this is happening to me," she says.
The video helped doctors diagnosis the episode as a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ministroke. Further tests revealed the strokes were caused by atherosclerosis — a buildup of plaque in her arteries. Yepes is now being treated for the condition and is expected to make a full recovery.
"In all my years treating stroke patients, we’ve never seen anyone tape themselves before," Dr. Cheryl Jaigobin, stroke neurologist at the Toronto Western Hospital's Krembil Neuroscience Centre, told the CBC. "Her symptoms were compelling, and the fact she stopped and found a way to portray them in such a visual fashion, we were all touched by it."
Yepes said she made the video to prove her attacks were not stress-related.
"It was just to show somebody," she said. "And I thought if I could show somebody what was happening, they would have a better understanding."
According to the American Stroke Association, there are three warning signs of strokes. And if you have any of them, call 911:
Face drooping — Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Try to smile. Is the smile uneven?
Arm weakness — Is one arm weak or numb? Try to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech difficulty — Is speech slurred? Are you unable to speak or are you hard to understand? Try to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to call 9-1-1 — If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.