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Stroke awareness in the Piedmont Triad

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- May is American Stroke Month.

Strokes remain a health concern in North Carolina.

Last year’s numbers give a glimpse at how serious the threat is in our state.

“There were over 24,000 strokes in North Carolina alone. Cone discharged over 1,200 stroke patients and was the leading discharging stroke hospital in North Carolina,” said Jason Clum, system-wide stroke coordinator for Cone Health.

Clum says 80 percent of strokes are preventable by controlling risk-factors including hypertension, diabetes, smoking, cholesterol and obesity.

“Prevention is so much easier than recovery, I know because I’ve spent the last 18 years trying to recover,” stroke survivor David Layton said.

Layton had a stroke in 1999 and says he probably would have made better lifestyle choices had he known a stroke could be prevented.

“I smoked a pack a day everyday for 30 years,” he said.

Layton now visits different places in the Piedmont sharing his story -- hoping to encourage others to be more health conscious.

To recognize the signs of having a stroke, remember FAST.

The American Stroke Association uses this acronym for face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties and time to call 911.

“Treatment times can be cut by as much as 45 minutes for patients who arrive via EMS as opposed to private vehicle,” Clum said.

Clum says stroke is different for women than it is for men.

Men are more likely to have a stroke, but there is a higher mortality rate when it comes to women.

In the Guilford County area, it’s about 50-50 for the occurrence of stroke in men and women.