ASK THE EXPERT: The link between COVID-19 & Stroke

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- May is “National Stroke Awareness Month”.

There is mounting evidence that COVID-19 patients have an added risk of stroke.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7 News’ Taylor Murray spoke with a neurologist about how to stay safe during the pandemic if you have a history of stroke.

There are still some unknowns about the link between COVID-19 and stroke.

As the pandemic continues, the medical community is finding that coronavirus is not just a respiratory illness, but a vascular disease that can affect many organ systems.

“It appears that among hospitalized patients that being COVID-19 positive increases the risk of having a stroke.”

Dr. John McBurney, Neurologist, Bon Secours St. Francis

Dr. John McBurney, a Neurology Specialist, says that patients with COVID-19 have a two to three times higher risk for stroke compared to those who don’t have COVID.

If you have a prior history of stroke…

“There’s no question that they’re more likely to have severe COVID.”

Dr. McBurney says strokes associated with COVID are not just impacting those already at risk for stroke, like older patients.

“Those strokes tend to affect younger age groups, more than in the non-COVID state.”

Therefore, young or old, if you have been infected with COVID-19, it’s important to know the warning signs of stroke. The acronym “B.E. F.A.S.T” will help you remember when to call for help

The quicker you call 911, the better chance you have at preventing disability.

Dr. McBurney says that if you have a history of stroke, then it’s important to reduce your risk of getting COVID by following public health guidelines for masking, handwashing, and social distancing.

There are several support groups for survivors in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina. For more information, click here.

To submit a health topic for our series, click here.

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