Hailey Baldwin Bieber is recovering after developing a blood clot that moved to her brain, a health problem that is happening in “younger and younger people” says a vascular neurologist.
Bieber, 25, shared on Saturday that she was eating breakfast with husband Justin Bieber on Thursday morning when she “started having stroke-like symptoms and was taken to the hospital.”
There, doctors found that she had “suffered a very small blood clot” to her brain, which led to a “small lack of oxygen.” Bieber’s body was able to pass the blood clot on its own, she explained, and she “recovered completely within a few hours.”
Blood clots like Bieber’s can form “for different reasons,” both environmental and genetic, Dr. Shazam Hussain, the director of the Cerebrovascular Center at Cleveland Clinic, tells PEOPLE.
“It’s important to know your health and any potential risk factors you might have for strokes, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, difficulty with sugars … When we have younger people having a stroke, we will look for things that would cause their blood to have a tendency to clot — it could be hereditary and run in their families.”
With blood clots that move to the brain, they typically originate from a blocked blood vessel in a spot in the body like the neck, or directly from the heart, Hussain says.
And once in the brain, “the organ that’s most sensitive to lack of blood flow,” the lack of oxygen will cause the brain function to shut down and cause stroke-like symptoms. Those symptoms can be spotted with the acronym BE FAST — B for balance, E for eyes and having vision trouble, F for face drooping, A for arm or limb weakness, S for speech difficulty and T for time, meaning it’s time to call 911.
“A stroke is really a situation where every second counts,” Hussain says. “The brain is very, very sensitive to the lack of blood flow and you lose somewhere around 2 million brain cells a minute. So it’s really important to get that medical attention right away.”
In Bieber’s case, she was able to pass the blood clot on her own, which is often possible with small clots. “If it’s a small clot, it can just dissipate and go away on its own and not leave any lasting issues or problems,” Hussain says.
If that’s not the case, doctors typically administer a clot-busting drug to dissolve the clot if its within the first 4.5 hours after a stroke, or for larger clots they’ll perform a thrombectomy to go in and remove the clot through the blood vessels.
With situations like Bieber’s, the incidents are typically called mini-strokes or a transient ischemic attack (TIA): “That means there was a blood clot, it dissolved up completely and the person is completely a hundred percent back to normal,” Hussain says. If an MRI shows any injury to the brain, however, “then it becomes a full stroke.”
Situations like Bieber’s are something that everyone should watch out for, young and old, Hussain says.
Source: People.com. Read more here.