I relate this personal experience that it may be given consideration by males that could have a potentially higher than normal risk of stroke or plaque related coronary heart disease.
I am a fifty one year old man in what I had believed to be excellent health. My weight is 165 and I am 5’11” tall. I walk a brisk 20 minute mile every day. I do not have high blood pressure, abnormally high cholesterol (total 195 mg/dl with LDL of 132mg/dl, and HDL 38 mg/dl), nor diabetes, do not smoke, do not drink excessively, and have no other high risk factors. Yet I had an ischemic stroke. Through an MRI and a dye contrast CT it was discovered that my right Carotid artery is 100% blocked at about the level of my right earlobe.
A walking miracle, I have been given a very rare gift. I have four natural by-pass arteries (collaterals) supplying sufficient, though somewhat reduced, blood flow to the right side of my brain. They connect just below the blockage and feed blood into four different areas (less than 1% probability of this happening). I have no long term side effects. I had a full physical exam a year prior to my stroke and no abnormalities were found.
About five minutes into my daily walk my left leg went numb below the knee. The numbness progressed upward through my leg, left arm and left cheek. The paralysis lasted 30 minutes and weakness followed for two hours. My wife delivered me to the ER within 20 minutes. She gave me two full strength aspirin, which I chewed. The hospital staff assumed a TIA, transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke. It wasn’t until the MD received the MRI/MRA results that I was informed of the ischemic stroke damage.
Many questions were presented to me in regard to symptoms that I may have missed. I had none. Certain abnormalities, which I had checked out by physicians over the years, I believe may have gone unrecognized as possible early-warning signs. I started developing fatty tumors in my late twenties. I have them in my arms, chest and lower back. Calcite deposits appeared in my mid-teens. I have at least two, one located in the large forearm muscle of my left arm and the other in my scrotum. Lastly I experienced a bent penis in my early forties. My urologist said it was from capillary damage. He prescribed a short term vitamin E and a couple other meds, which cleared up the condition in a few months. I believe this condition may have been from plaque buildup in the capillaries and if so may be an unrecognized early warning sing of vascular disease. If you are in your late thirties to mid-forties and have experienced any of these, please consider a complete checkup for coronary or carotid artery disease. It may reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke damage.