Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown has a message for his community after suffering a minor stroke almost two weeks ago.
Brown returned to work Tuesday -- just 12 days after the health scare.
"I was more tired than expected, but the doctors said, 'Hey, take one day at a time, one step at a time,'" Brown told News4.
Brown had attended the funeral of his friend Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenentz on May 11.
When he got home, something didn't feel right.
"All of a sudden, the room started spinning and I sort of lost balance. I thought it was maybe just temporary, but after, you know, about 10 seconds I realized this wasn't going away," Brown said.
Doctors at the University of Maryland Prince George's Hospital said it was a minor stroke.
"When the doctor told me, it was quite emotional because I had never really given a lot of thought to a stroke and what it is, how it happens," Brown said.
The stroke also shocked many who know the 56-year-old Democratic congressman and assumed he was in good health.
Brown wasn't paralyzed, but the stroke has affected his equilibrium and balance.
"I wouldn't go out and ride a bicycle today," he said.
Brown has been working nonstop since he was elected Maryland Lieutenant Governor alongside Martin O'Malley in 2007. After an unsuccessful run for governor, he won his race for Congress in Maryland's 4th District.
He says he has neglected some things that he's paying more attention to now.
"For me, it's cholesterol and sodium. So, those are changes I'm making, learning it can be healthy and taste good too," Brown said.
Brown says he intends to make other lifestyle changes such as spending more time with his family and taking more breaks in his day.
"Stress in and of itself is not a risk factor for a stroke, but stress often results in us ignoring the risk factors," Brown said. "We are in stressful, busy lives so we forget to focus on healthy eating. We are in stressful, busy lives so we forget to focus on fitness."
Brown said he wants his experience to also be a lesson to his constituents to take care of their health. The Centers for Disease Control says African Americans are more likely to die from stroke than Caucasians and the risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high for African Americans.
For more information on the risks and symptoms of stroke, check here.