Spotting the signs: Visit to doctor saves South Carolina woman from stroke

Sylvia Sullivan loves to walk with her husband. At 72, it’s part of their daily activities to get exercise. She felt pretty good but back in September she noticed that her throat was tight and it would spasm.

“The biggest thing about all of this is I didn’t know anything was wrong,” said Sullivan. She decided to go ahead and schedule an appointment with her primary care doctor.

What she felt in her throat was a sign of something more serious. The cardiologist she went to see found severe blockages in her heart which requires stents. That’s not all.

“She had severe blockage in her carotid artery which could have led to a severe stroke,” said Dr. Robert Allen, a vascular surgeon with Piedmont Medical Center.

Allen says Sullivan is fortunate because she could have had a stroke. Through a minimally invasive option, Allen put a stent in her carotid artery.

“I was quite surprised at the stent process you really don’t feel it,” said Sullivan who only felt a little soreness.

“Sylvia’s case is a great example for all of the viewers about how vascular disease tends to not just be in one spot but multiple,” said Allen who says there are things that doctors can do.

Minutes matter when it comes to a stroke. Some of the signs to be aware of include a sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm or leg. You may notice someone sounding confused or maybe they have trouble speaking or trouble seeing.

Stroke is a leading cause of long term disability across the country and one happens almost every 40 seconds.

“Do it. Go to your doctor,” said Sullivan who thanks God that she’s alive.

Sullivan is back to walking two miles with her husband, Richard, and her prognosis from Allen is good. She and her husband are preparing to celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary.