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TriStar Horizon Medical Center
TriStar Natchez ER

Stroke Becoming More Common in Young People

48-year old TriStar Health nurse back at work at suffering a stroke


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 26, 2012)-New research shows that stroke may be affecting people at a younger age. The study published in October’s Neurology® medical journal found that strokes among people under 55 made up a greater percentage of all strokes over time, growing from about 13 percent 19 percent over a ten year period. Reasons for this trend, according to the study, could be a rise in risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol as well as improved diagnosis through the increased use of telemedicine and MRI imaging technologies.

48-year old David Polk of Dickson, Tennessee was busy taking care of patients at TriStar Horizon Medical Center on June 28th when he became extremely dizzy and started losing his balance.  After a quick response from his co-workers and a fast trip to the hospital’s emergency room, neurologists at sister facility TriStar Skyline Medical Center confirmed, through the use of telemedicine technology, that Polk was suffering a mild stroke.  He was transferred to TriStar Skyline where he was treated and is now on a regimen of cholesterol medicine and aspirin.  “I am so grateful that resources were available to immediately diagnose my stroke quickly.  If the expertise was not there, the outcome could have been very different .”  Polk is now back at the job he loves which is taking care of his patients.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the number one cause of disability in Tennessee. It’s important for people to know that a stroke is a medical emergency and to learn the FAST warning signs:

  • Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 911 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them closest hospital immediately.

TriStar Stroke provides 24/7 access by stroke experts through certified stroke centers throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky who will determine the best treatment plan and coordinate the rapid transfer to one of our certified stroke centers. To learn more about stroke and our network of stroke hospitals, visit and click on stroke.

TriStar Stroke is part of TriStar Health the region’s largest, most comprehensive healthcare provider with 12 hospitals in Middle Tennessee and South Central Kentucky. For more information about TriStar Health, or for a physician referral, call TriStar MedLineSM at 615-342-1919 or toll-free outside of Nashville at

1-800-242-5662 or visit

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