Latest News » Celebrity stroke highlights serious health concern

A mini-stroke occurs when blood can't reach a part of the brain.

As this blog has documented, recent research has shown that strokes are not just a concern for the elderly. Now, reports that former "Malcolm in the Middle" star Frankie Muniz recently suffered a minor stroke have given younger Americans a tangible example of the risk. This event, which occurs when blood cannot freely flow to a portion of the brain, can severely impair your mobility and cognitive function, particularly if it isn't treated immediately.

Celebrity-centric website TMZ was one of the first news outlets to cover the story. However, it was Muniz himself who actually broke the news. A few days before his 27th birthday on December 5, Muniz tweeted that he had spent the night in the hospital after suffering what the doctors called a "mini-stroke."

Muniz elaborated on the incident on ABC's "Good Morning America," explaining that he was suddenly unable to speak properly. "I thought I was saying [words]! And, my fiancé was looking at me like I was speaking a foreign language," he explained.

The technical term for a mini-stroke is a transient ischemic attack, and, like a full-blown stroke, it is typically the result of blood vessel blockage in the brain. People who suffer a mini-stroke are likely to experience symptoms such as partial paralysis, speech difficulties and distorted vision for a couple of hours. And, while these events are generally not life-threatening, multiple sources report that they do affect brain health and increase the likelihood of a full stroke later in life.

So, what can you do to reduce the risk of having a stroke (of any size)? You can start by taking steps to pursue proper nutrition for the mind through a balanced diet and regular exercise. These practices help combat medical issues like diabetes and high blood pressures, both of which are risk factors for stroke.