May is Stroke Awareness Month. Through education and advances in treatment, stroke has dropped to the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States. For Wilson County, stroke is still the third-leading cause of death.
Stroke is the second-leading cause of disability worldwide. Many people think that strokes are not preventable and not treatable. At Wilson Medical Center, we are committed to educating our community that neither of these statements are true. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable and there are treatments for stroke if care is sought early.
Prevention is the best option. There are many unhealthy habits that you can change, which include smoking, drinking too much alcohol and not getting enough exercise. Having high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes also can increase your risk for stroke. Treating these conditions can reduce the risk of stroke.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke is key. The five most common signs and symptoms of stroke are:
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg.
• Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others.
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
• Sudden dizziness, trouble walking or loss of balance or coordination.
• Sudden severe headache
If you or someone you know develops any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. There are treatments available for stroke, but they must be given within the first three to four and a half hours after symptoms develop.
Because of the incidence of stroke in our community, Wilson Medical Center has partnered with the Duke TeleStroke Network. Through the Duke Telestroke Network, patients at Wilson Medical Center have 24/7 access to Duke neurologists/stroke experts. Patients can expect faster evaluation, diagnosis and treatment with the high-tech robot.
Wilson Medical Center is committed to making our community healthier.
As Chest Pain and Stroke Center coordinator, I lead a multi-disciplinary team that meets monthly to review all stroke cases. We are constantly looking for any opportunity to improve outcomes for the people we serve. Our commitment to bringing the most advanced treatment and care to the people we serve has resulted in the majority of our stroke patients being able to go home after a stroke.
Wilson Medical Center also offers a monthly stroke support group for stroke survivors and their caregivers. The group meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month in the CardioPulmonary Rehab Gym. The next meeting will be held on May 25 and the topic is diet and nutrition. For more information, call 252-399-8906.
Donna Beaman, registered nurse, is the Chest Pain and Stroke Center coordinator at Wilson Medical Center.