WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s Stroke Awareness Month in the United States. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the country, but in New Hanover County, it ranks third.
Dr. James McKinney from New Hanover Regional Medical Center says we live in the stroke belt.
“If you have a stroke here or patients that have strokes in this area are more likely to be permanently disabled or die from their strokes,” Dr. McKinney said.
So what are the symptoms if you or a loved one is having a stroke?
“Usually it causes weakness or paralysis on half the body,” Dr. McKinney said. “So if the left brain is affected, the opposite side of the body is weak, so the right side of the body would be affected and vice versa.”
Dr. McKinney also says stroke patients can have difficulty speaking and lose their vision in some cases.
He says the mnemonic FAST can help you catch the signs of a stroke.
“Is there any facial droop or facial weakness? Have patients hold up their arms, does one of them drift? Is the speech slurred or they have trouble expressing themself or is it garbled? And T is time, it’s time to call 911 if you have any of those, because our treatments are very time dependent,” Dr. McKinney said.
NHRMC recently expanded its endovascular stroke program, so patients are now covered 24/7 in southeastern North Carolina.