GREENVILLE, S.C (WSPA) – May is stroke awareness month.
According to the CDC, someone in the United States dies from a stroke every 4 minutes. It is a leading cause of death for Americans.
As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7 News spoke with a Neurosurgeon to find out how you can prevent stroke and the key to survival if you experience one.
If you think you are experiencing a stroke, acting fast can save your life.
“So you don’t mess around. You just call 911 and you get to the hospital,” Vascular Neurosurgeon Dr. Sharon Webb said.
Dr. Webb said the chances of survival are greater when emergency treatment begins quickly after a stroke.
“32,000 brain cells are dying every second during a stroke,” Dr. Webb said.
Patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of their first symptoms often have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who received delayed care.
“You do not wait. You don’t get in your car. You don’t drive anywhere. You call EMS immediately.”Dr. Sharon Webb, Vascular Neurosurgeon, Bon Secours Saint Francis Health
The older you are, the more likely you are to have a stroke. However, being young and healthy doesn’t make you immune.
“In the last five years, we’ve certainly seen an increase in the amount of strokes in the population from ages 16 to 65,” Dr. Webb said.
Some of the other causes of stroke include family history, high blood pressure or cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and sickle cell. Behaviors like smoking, an unhealthy diet or too much alcohol also increase your risk.
“We can’t change our genetics, but we can minimize the risk factors as much as possible by watching our cholesterol, taking our blood pressure medication, exercising regularly and eating a good diet,” Dr. Webb said.
It’s important to understand what having a stroke feels like, so that you can know when to get help.
Dr. Webb said the life-saving acronym “B. E. F.A.S.T.” will help you to remember the warning signs.
If you have had a stoke, you do have an increased risk of having another stroke.
There are several support groups for survivors in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina. For more information, click here.