Taking to Instagram on Sunday, Zolciak-Biermann shared a post about stroke identification after suffering from one two years ago this September. It was a shocking event in her life that ultimately ended her run on Dancing With the Stars.
The 39-year-old posted an image to her Instagram to more than 2.5 million followers, thanking her daughter for coming to her aid that fateful day.
“Thank you [Brielle Biermann] for sending me this!” she wrote. “As you know I had a stroke in Sept 2015 and when Brielle called Kroy to tell him something wasn't “right” with me I remember him yelling, ‘Brielle get her in the car NOW and take her to the hospital fast every minute count!’”
Zolciak-Biermann says “it’s true,” adding how “thankful” she is for everyone’s quick thinking.
“I’ve never seen doctors [and] nurses move as fast as they did the second I was wheeled in,” she wrote. “I'm so thankful for my medical team. I have almost fully recovered (sometimes my tongue slips when I speak, and sometimes I have the word on the tip of my tongue, but it just doesn’t come out) but I feel great!”
The reality TV star says she had her stroke at 37, but warns that it can happen to anyone at any age.
“When in doubt please always check it out!!” Zolciak-Biermann concluded her message on the image that gave instructions on how users can identify stroke.
Thank you @briellebiermann for sending me this! I wanted to share it with you! As you know I had a stroke in Sept 2015 and when Brielle called Kroy to tell him something wasn't "right" with me I remember him yelling, "Brielle get her in the car NOW and take her to the hospital fast every minute count!" It's TRUE! And Im so thankful for everyone's quick thinking. I've never seen doctors/nurses move as fast as they did the second I was wheeled in. I'm so thankful for my medical team. I have almost fully recovered (sometimes my tongue slips when I speak, and sometimes I have the word on the tip of my tongue but it just doesnt come out) but I feel great!! I had my stroke at 37!! It can happen to anyone at any age!! When in doubt please always check it out!! ?
According to the American Heart Association, nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke every year, with an estimated three in four being first-time strokes. Not only does someone die every four minutes of stroke in the United States, but it’s the fifth cause of death in the country, killing nearly 130,000 people a year.
Women are more at risk for experiencing stroke, partly due to women living longer.
When Zolciak-Biermann experienced hers, it was while she competed on Dancing With the Stars. After a grueling day of practice with her partner, Tony Dovolani, the reality star mother flew home to be with her kids and realized her left hand was going numb.
In an interview with PEOPLE, she said it was like a “million ants crawling over” her body.
“I bent down to hug my son KJ and all of a sudden my left hand went numb,” Zolciak-Biermann said as the sensation got worse in just moments, leaving her without the ability to feel her face or tongue.
The last 24hrs have been whirlwind! I landed yesterday morning from LAX (took the red eye right after DWTS) I got home and within minutes suffered a TIA (mini stroke) the left side of my body went completely numb and my speech was gone. Extremely grateful for @sladeosborne @briellebiermann @nikitpressley @kroybiermann for quick reactions! I have 100%of my feeling back THANK GOD. Still in the hospital but I just know I'm getting released today! ????. #CrazyAgeDoesntMatter
Zolciak-Biermann said her kids didn’t think twice about it, assuming she was making funny faces as she occasionally jokes around with them.
“I’m always joking around with my kids,” she said. “I do these Jim Carrey impersonations with my face and my daughter Brielle thought I was doing that! She said, ‘Mom, cut it out, you’re not funny.’”
After using all her strength to grab her daughters’ arms, Zolciak-Biermann said her kids knew then that something was very wrong despite her telling herself, she was “fine.”
PEOPLE reports that the Bravo veteran was hospitalized for a mini-stroke and underwent heart surgery after doctors discovered an existing genetic condition that required immediate attention.
The American Heart Association says that 87 percent of strokes are classified as “ischemic,” meaning it occurs when a clot or a mass blocks a blood vessel, eventually cutting off blood flow to a part of the brain.
Zolciak-Bierrman told E! News that she had a clot, but was not sure if it originated in her leg or pelvis.
“Most people have a filter so it can’t cross over to the other side of your heart, but because I do have a valve — they call it a hole, but it’s more like a valve that never closed when I was born,” she said. “The blood clot was able to transfer and go through the hole, which stopped oxygen to my brain on the right side of my brain.”
Zolciak-Biermann told PEOPLE at the time that she owes her life to her short stint on the ABC dancing competition.
“Had I not been so active with [the show] and also flying — that’s probably what in essence caused the blood clot – it really is a blessing in disguise,” she said. “Because now I can really fix it and move on instead of having a true stroke where I never recover, or my doctor said a massive heart attack.”
She goes on to say that anything that has to do with your heart and brain is “pretty scary.”
“I’ve been through it, I’m okay,” she said. “[But] you really don’t realize how precious life is and how something can just — it literally happened in a second and my whole life changed.”