Advance with MUSC Health

Stroke Survival and Community Programming

Advance With MUSC Health
December 16, 2022
Decorative image of a pair of hands holding a cut-out drawing profile of a human head. Inside the head is the illustration of a heart with EKG lines on it.

In the United States, roughly one-quarter of individuals who experience a stroke are not experiencing it for the first time. In 2020, the southeastern United States had one of the highest stroke rates in the world. Since 2015, South Carolina has ranked among the top six states for stroke death rate at 46.7 percent. Here, Occupational Therapist Della Spratt at MUSC Florence discusses the signs of a stroke, habits that can decrease your risk of stroke and community resources available for stroke survivors and caregivers.

What are the signs of stroke?

One way to decrease the impact of a stroke is to recognize the signs early and get to the hospital for immediate treatment. Any of the following symptoms could be a sign of a stroke: unusual or severe headache; slurred speech; facial droop or one-sided weakness of the arm, leg or face; sudden and continued loss of balance; or loss of vision or visual changes.

Good habits that can decrease the risk of stroke are:

  • Blood pressure management – This can be regulated via regular check-ups with your primary care physician, reduced salt intake, avoiding high-cholesterol foods (burgers, ice cream, etc.), exercising regularly and quitting smoking.
  • Weight control – Obesity increases the likelihood of high blood pressure and diabetes, which increases the risk of a stroke occurrence.
  • Exercise – Find a routine that works for you! Set realistic, attainable goals.
  • Limit alcohol intake – Research shows that more than two drinks per day increase the risk of stroke.
  • Treat diabetes –High blood sugar can damage blood vessels over time, making you at a higher risk for blood clots forming.
  • Quit Smoking – Using nicotine causes the thickening of the blood, which inhibits flow and increases the volume of plaque build-up in the arteries, which can contribute to stroke occurrence.

Community Resources

MUSC Health provides support groups for the following groups and locations:

  • Florence, South Carolina
    • Group: Stroke survivors and caregivers of all ages are welcome.
    • Date/Time: Meets monthly.
    • Location: MUSC Health Florence Outpatient Clinic, 1925 Hoffmeyer Road, in Florence, SC
    • Contact: 843-661-4360 for dates and times.
  • Charleston, South Carolina
    • Young Stroke Survivors Support Group
  • Date/Time: 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6:30 PM
  • Location: Held virtually on Zoom. To participate in the monthly meeting, please reach out to Alyssa Chesnutt for the meeting ID. Participants can join virtual meetings using a smartphone, computer, or tablet.
  • Contact: Alyssa Chesnutt | 843-792-8171
    If you are not living in the Florence or Charleston area, the American Heart Association has online resources detailing support groups that may be closer to you.

Additional Resources:

7 things you can do to prevent a stroke. Harvard Health. (2022, May 15). Retrieved October 18, 2022, from

American Heart Association. (n.d.). 2022 heart disease & stroke statistical update fact sheet cardiovascular health. American Heart Association. Retrieved June 18, 2022, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, April 9). Stroke facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved June 19, 2022, from

Uemura, K., Yamada, M., & Okamoto, H. (2018). Effects of Active Learning on Health Literacy and Behavior in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 66(9), 1721–1729.