Feb 28, 2013 9:11 PM by NBC News

New guidelines to identify victims of stroke

Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from strokes each year. What you may not realize is that children are also at risk.

At the age of 13, Megan Luker had something many of us associate with older adults. She suffered a stroke.

Megan said she wasn't feeling herself, but no one knew just how bad it was until she fainted in class.

According to the National Stroke Association, 6 in every 100,000 kids have strokes.

Megan's chances of having a stroke were higher because of a rare disorder she has that makes her blood clot easily. She also had a hole in her heart.

There are some new guidelines that can make it easier to recognize when someone is having a stroke. It's called "FAST". F stands for face. Is the person's face drooping when they smile? A stands for arms. When the person holds both her arms out, does one go downward? S is for speech. Is the speech slurred or strange? T is for time. If you see any of these symptoms, get help right away.

Megan never thought she'd be a poster girl, but now the high school senior is living proof you can overcome a stroke and savor every second life has to offer.

"I think having a stroke and realizing I'm not this invincible pre-teen, anything can happen and I could die at any moment," said Megan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 34% of the people hospitalized for stroke were under 65.

If someone you know is showing symptoms of a stroke, get medical help immediately.



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