• Woman survives stroke, has warning for others

    By: Gina Esposito

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Kristen Wingate, who is a mother of three, had a stroke in December.

    "My mom came with the kids and she noticed something was a little off, so she gave me a water, and in my mind, I was grabbing the water, but, like, my hand never got there," Wingate said.

    When she couldn't move her legs, Wingate said her husband drove her to the emergency room in Atrium-SouthPark.

    "They gave me medicine at SouthPark to reverse it, but I needed a little more attention because I had blood clots that traveled on the right side on my brain," Wingate said.

    Doctors took images of her brain. Neuroradiologist Dr. Gary DeFilipp showed Channel 9 what the blockage looked like. 

    "These areas that are in purple have significant decreased blood flow going to those areas," DeFilpp said.

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    DeFilipp said doctors at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center spoke with Wingate through a monitor and told her she needed to get to them right away for treatment.

    He said in those types of cases, every minute matters and their goal is to get someone into treatment within 60 minutes.

    "In Wingate's case, she had a blockage of her carotid artery in the neck and one of the major vessels in her head. So, really, we used both (catheter) devices to open the blood vessel up," DeFilipp said.

    DeFilipp said that treatment prevented Wingate from losing movement in her body.

    For that type of stroke, DeFilipp said seven out of 10 people die or develop disabilities like paralysis, memory or vision loss or speech problems. Wingate is currently taking medication and will need check-ups, but she will be OK. She wants others to know the signs.

    "I've never had high blood pressure or high cholesterol. I have a nutrition degree. I’m a runner. To me, there was no reason I should have this, but it did happen," Wingate said.

    Doctors said the chances of having a stroke increase if you smoke and have high blood pressure and cholesterol. However, doctors said anyone under the age of 50 can have one, They said normal things like dancing, and even sneezing can cause tears that can lead to a blood clot.

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