Well - Spring 2011 - (Page 8)

Lessons LeaRned Karen mccall didn’t know much about stroke before she had one. now she’s getting the message out. By KiKi ThoMpSon N AVERAGE, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke. It’s a startling statistic by the American Heart Association, but it is less scary when we understand more about strokes, who is affected, and what treatment is available today to help patients in their recovery. One common misperception about stroke is that it only strikes the elderly. Research does show that a higher number of stroke patients are older than 60, but that is not always the case. In 2004, Karen McCall, vice president of public affairs and marketing at UNC Health Care, was on a family vacation. She was young, healthy and in good physical condition. There was no reason to suspect that she was at risk for having a stroke. She had just finished eating a piece of double-chocolatefudge brownie when she experienced a visual migraine— a condition she had dealt with for 20 years. This particular episode was unusual, though. While the migraine went away after 15 minutes, as it always did, it left a lingering vision problem that Karen had never experienced before. Being on vacation with her family and not wanting to disrupt their time together, Karen decided to wait and see how she felt after coming home a few days later. She spoke to the hospital chief of staff about the unusual episode, and he strongly advised her to visit the neurology clinic that day. An MRI and other tests confirmed that Karen had three mini strokes during the previous two weeks. “I cannot tell you how shocked I was,” says Karen. “I was in good health, exercised every day, had low blood pressure, and had worked in the health care field for most of my career.” The stories of patients like Karen who have strokes at relatively young ages are good reminders that stroke can happen at any age. “It is true that age is a risk factor for stroke,” says Ana Felix, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the UNC School of Medicine, “but it is also true that stroke is starting to affect people at a younger age. Recent research shows that younger women, in particular, are being affected, and we’re not sure why.” 8 Spring 2011 Well

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Well - Spring 2011

Well - Spring 2011
UNC Health Care News
Little Patients Require Special Care
2010 Community Benefit Summary
My Story
Lessons Learned

Well - Spring 2011