When a university student woke up with a pounding headache after a night in the pub in March last year, he attributed it to the worst hangover of his life.
What he didn’t know was that he had suffered a stroke while he was sleeping.
Eight weeks before he was due to finish his journalism course at Leeds University, then 23-year-old Jameel Razak returned to his hometown of Norton, Teeside, for the Easter holidays.
After a night out at the local pub and a few pints with friends, he woke up in bed the next day feeling “tired and a little restless”.
But “nothing out of the ordinary,” he said in a video released by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.
Jameel realized something was wrong when he tried to get out of bed a few hours later.
As soon as he sat up, he got a severe headache. And when he tried to get up, he finally collapsed on the floor.
He found his legs weren’t working and he couldn’t stop throwing up.
Despite this, Jameel still attributed his symptoms to a hangover.
He said: “I was pretty confident that tomorrow after I slept I would wake up feeling like new – maybe it was just a minor slip. So somehow I persuaded my parents to leave me alone for the night and not worry.”
When the journalism student woke up the next morning, he found his symptoms were worse – the right side of his body felt completely numb and he had problems with hand-eye coordination.
His parents called an ambulance and he was admitted to the Stroke Unit at North Tees University Hospital.
Doctors performed an ultrasound scan called a transesophageal echocardiogram and found a small hole in his heart.
This meant blood, and possibly blood clots, could flow between the heart valves and to other parts of his body, including the brain.
Jameel was treated in the ward for 17 days and continued his physical and cognitive therapy at home as a discharged patient.
He recently underwent keyhole surgery at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle to repair his heart and reduce the risk of another stroke.
Jameel, now 25, said the stroke changed him as a person – he picked up where he left off in university and he said it gave him a new focus on his studies.
He still suffers from some long-term symptoms, including fatigue and some cognitive impairments, such as in associating words with their meaning.
But Jameel said: “A stroke showed me what I was made of.
“I never thought that I could ever go through something like this and come out of it a better person, a better version of myself.”
He now wants to draw attention to his experiences and is working on producing a 15-minute documentary about stroke and stroke survivors. itv reported.
“My plan now is to finish college and then just…live life.”
What are the signs of a stroke?
The FAST method — which stands for Face, Arms, Speech, Time — is the easiest way to memorize the most common stroke symptoms:
f = Drooping face – if one side of a person’s face droops or is numb, ask them to smile. If it’s uneven, you should seek help.
A = Arm weakness – if one arm is weak or numb, you should ask the person to raise both arms. If an arm is drifting down, you may need help
S = Speech difficulties – if a person’s speech is slurred, this could be a sign of a stroke
T = Time to call 999 – if a person has any of the above signs they will need to call 999 in the UK or 911 in the US for emergency care
You may have a combination of these symptoms or just one. Therefore, it is important not to wait for more than one sign to appear.