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Zumba Helps Fort Worth Doctor’s Stroke Recovery

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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Dr. Philippa Evans is back in zumba class after several weeks off — and she has hardly missed a beat. It is amazing because just three weeks ago she faced a medical emergency in that same room.

The 41-year-old psychologist from Fort Worth sat down with us to remember the day her body stopped functioning properly. Her arms weren’t moving the way her brain was telling them. She started drooling and was not even able to pick up her water bottle. And then, “I got to my car and I just couldn’t even put the key in the ignition or open the door. And so this was all with my right hand. And so I noticed that I started dropping my keys and I wouldn’t be able to grab anything,” Evans said.

Paramedics rushed her to Harris Methodist Hospital where Dr. Herschel Brown determined Evans had had a stroke. “She was having problems moving her right side. She was having problems talking,” Brown said.

So why does a seemingly healthy and young person like Dr. Evans have a stroke? Physicians say it usually comes down to family history, medication and other factors like a blocked artery or leaking blood vessel. In Dr. Evans’ case, she has a certain protein that causes her blood to thicken.

The National Stroke Association says the warning signs of a stroke are easy to spot if you remember this phrase — act FAST.

  • F – Is for face. Is one side drooping? Can the person smile?
  • A – Is for arms. Can the person raise both arms?
  • S – Is speech. Can the person repeat a simple phrase?
  • T – Is time. If you spot these problems, call 911 immediately.

Doctors say they are treating younger patients for stroke these days, but not because the rate is increasing. “We’re becoming more in tune to diagnosing these better and these people have a better outcome,” Brown said.

Dr. Evans has nearly recovered just three weeks after her stroke. She continues therapy to help speech, memory and coordination. And then there’s zumba. “It helps my recovery. You know, getting back out there. Making sure those limbs work. So, I’m ready,” Dr. Evans said.

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