Former hairdresser suffers a stroke at the age of 21

Suffering a stroke is something you might associate with people in their 60s and 70s but it can happen to anyone.

Newsbeat has seen figures showing more than 1,000 under-30s are taken to hospital in England each year after suffering one.

Charities say there is still a lack of awareness about stroke, especially among young people.

Twenty-two-year-old Becky Beaumont from Stockport admits she had no idea it could happen to someone her age, until she suffered a stroke last October.

She says she woke up one morning and found she couldn't move.

"I shouted for my mum and when she came in, I could see the panic on her face," she said. "It was terrifying."

'Adjusting'

She was temporarily paralysed on her left side and has spent the last year trying to build up movement and strength in her arm and leg.

"My life now revolves around physio and sleeping," she added.

"It's been a lot of adjusting for everyone because I'm so dependent on other people."

Doctors sometimes refer to stroke as a heart attack for the brain.

It happens when the blood supply to the brain is stopped.

There are many different things that can cause this and sometimes there is no obvious explanation.

NHS figures released to Newsbeat show 1,124 people under 30 were admitted to hospital in the year 2011/12 because of a stroke.

Studies in the US have shown a rise in victims aged under 45, possibly linked to obesity and diabetes.

In the UK the average age of sufferers is 75 and charities say that often means hospital treatment and other support services are geared towards older people.

'Ignored'

Debbie Wilson is chief executive of Different Strokes, a charity set up to help younger survivors.

"Paramedics and A&E staff are more aware now of the symptoms of stroke and that younger people have stroke", she said.

"But we do still hear of cases where people are assumed to be drunk and the quicker you're treated the better the outcome."

Debbie says a big challenge for young survivors is getting back to work.

"It makes holding down a job quite difficult and many people find they can't go back to the work the way they did before."

That's the case for Becky, who had just started a hairdressing course and is now unsure if she will ever be able to continue her career.

"I've got two arms that don't work properly and a leg that doesn't work properly," she said.

"I struggle to tie my shoelaces, let alone cut someone's hair."

She started a blog about her experience, to try to make people realise that strokes do affect young people.

"People have tweeted saying, 'I had a stroke in my 20s or my 30s. Thank you for telling your story because we feel we've been ignored.'"