In eastern North Carolina, stroke deaths are all too common.

In fact, according to Dr. Diego Condes, a vascular neurologist at Vidant, if you live east of I-95 in North Carolina, your chances of dying from a stroke double. Barbecue, collard greens and other foods that are high in fat and sodium are common in our meals.

Limiting your intake of these foods and substituting them for more nutritious foods and fruit and vegetables can improve your chances of not having a stroke. Along with improving your diet, getting regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure and lessen your stroke risk. Going to the doctor more regularly and avoiding smoking are other lifestyle changes to prevent strokes.

There are two types of strokes, an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke happens when there is a clot that forms and does not let blood flow to certain parts of the brain and that area dies. A hemorrhagic stroke means a vessel in the brain ruptures and blood in the system causes a stroke.

Dr. Condes joined WITN and discussed these topics and how to identify if you or someone you know may be having a stroke.

The acronym to identify a stroke is B-E F-A-S-T.

  • B – Balance
  • E – Eye problems
  • F – Face, if your face droops
  • A – Arm, or for your leg if one of your arms or legs does not work
  • S – Speech, if your speech is slurred or jumbled
  • T – Time, as in it’s time to go to the hospital

Dr. Condes said strokes generally affect people 50 years of age or older, but with poor lifestyle factors it can be much earlier.

At Vidant Health, the Stroke Team has highly advanced training and have innovative techniques, combined with years of experience and dedication, provide skill and knowledge that deliver the highest level of care for the whole nervous system — brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

Read about Vidant’s Stroke Community Resources

Watch Dr. Condes interview with WITN