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May is Stroke Awareness Month
Posted by: Jennifer Wilson, Public Relations Manager | May 03, 2011
West Columbia, S.C. –Lexington Medical Center is working to educate our community about the risk factors for stroke during the month of May, which is designated as Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in South Carolina, resulting in more than 2,000 deaths each year, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. South Carolina is among a group of Southeastern states with high stroke death rates referred to as the “Stroke Belt.”
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it starts to die.
“The main warning signs of stroke are focal and motor weakness, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, facial drooping, confusion and inability to talk,” said Dr. Deborah Simpson, Emergency Medicine physician at Lexington Medical Center.
Risk factors for stroke are untreated high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol. In South Carolina, high blood pressure, smoking and other risk factors are prevalent.
One of the most promising treatments for stroke is Tissue Plasminogen Activator, or TPA. TPA is a drug that dissolves the clot causing the stroke. Doctors perform the treatment either with an IV or catheter. It’s becoming a standard of care.
“The tissue doesn’t die and patients do not have long term deficits,” said Dr. Simpson. “It can prevent people from having physical or occupational therapy after a stroke.”
Patients must meet certain protocol to receive TPA including beginning treatment within a few hours after the onset of symptoms and the ability to begin IV or catheter therapy in a certain amount of time. The outcome of TPA can be very beneficial, reducing permanent disability.
According to Dr. Simpson, most people with strokes are over age 40 and have multiple risk factors.
“Have your blood pressure checked and treated and quit smoking,” she said. “Modifying your lifestyle can help prevent stroke.”
You can learn more about strokes by visiting the Health Library on Lexington Medical Center’s website, www.lexmed.com.
Click on the following link to test your stroke knowledge by taking a Quiz. You can win a prize.
News reporters who would like to do interviews about strokes and/or TPA treatment featuring physicians and patients should contact Lexington Medical Center Public Relations Manager Jennifer Wilson at 803-939-4512. Hospital physicians are also available for individual interviews on strokes for print and television.
Lexington Medical Center, in West Columbia, S.C., anchors a county-wide health care network that includes six community medical centers throughout Lexington County and employs a staff of 5,900 health care professionals. The network also includes comprehensive cardiovascular care, an occupational health center, the largest nursing home in the Carolinas and more than 60 physician practices. At its heart is the 414-bed state-of-the-art Lexington Medical Center, with a reputation for the highest quality care. Lexington Medical Center won “Best Hospital” by readers of The State for ten years in a row, “Best Hospital” by readers of the Free Times, "Best Place to Have a Baby" by readers of Palmetto Parent, the "Consumer Choice Award" from the National Research Corporation and the prestigious “Summit Award” from Press Ganey for outstanding patient satisfaction.