Gilbert's hospitalization a reminder that everyone is vulnerable to a stroke

At 57 years old, worth billions, one would think Dan Gilbert is the picture of health. But on Sunday he apparently knew something was wrong and was taken to Beaumont Royal Oak where he suffered a stroke.

"A stroke is when there's not enough blood flow getting to part of the brain and that causes neurological issues to come along suddenly," said Dr. Rebbeca Grysiewicz, a stroke specialist with Beaumont Health. 

One lesson we're all learning from this is that a stroke can happen at any age. 

The fact that Gilbert was at the hospital was critical in his treatment. Doctors need to get blood flow back to the brain as quickly as possible. 

"One of our main treatments is called 'TPA,'" Grysiewicz said, "this is a medication sometimes people refer to as the clot-buster, that can be given in an IV and helps the body's natural way to break up a blood clot that's preventing flow to the brain."

Grysiewicz mentioned that another method involves using a catheter - which was what was used on Gilbert during his stroke.  

The catheter is usually inserted at the groin and then a microwire navigates it all the way to the obstruction in the brain where the clot is retrieved.   

Doctors are seeing stroke rates rise in younger populations, in part because risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol are so common. These problems create irregularities in blood vessels. 

"When that is the case blood can't get through smoothly and when the blood can't get through smoothly, clots can develop and cause a stroke to occur," said Grysiewicz. 

Remember the acronym FASTER, which is face drooping, arm weakness, difficulties with stability and talking, as well as eyes, which may have vision problems. Finally, there's the 'R,' which is for react; that means call 911. 

Beaumont doctors say it's better to call 911 if you're concerned about a stroke than having someone drive you to the hospital. That's because emergency medics will treat a patient in the ambulance and get them right where they need to be at the hospital, instead of sitting in the emergency waiting area.