Act fast at first sign of a stroke

May is American Stroke Awareness Month

ORLANDO, Fla. – Stroke is a leading cause of preventable death, but lack of awareness, education, and resources are major barriers to stopping it.

Someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes someone dies of one. Former national news TV personality Mark McEwen went from an all-time high to rock bottom after suffering from a massive stroke.

“When I woke up in the hospital and the doctor said, ‘You’ve had a stroke.’ I thought ‘Uhh ... what’s that,’” McEwen said.

Know the warning signs of strokes so that you can be fast. First, watch for a sudden loss of balance. Eyes, is there a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes or is there double vision? Face, ask the person to smile and check to see if one side of their face drops. Arm, ask the person to raise both arms and see if one arm slowly moves downward. Speech, ask the person to repeat a simple sentence and check to see if their words are slurred or the sentence is repeated incorrectly. Time, if a person shows any of these symptoms, call 911.

“I always say when you are young you have armor around you, as you get older that armor gets thinner and thinner, McEwen shared, “Your job is to help that armor to protect you.”

Eighty percent of strokes that occur are preventable. Eating healthy, being physically active, and controlling risk factors are important lifestyle changes that can help prevent and beat your chances of having a stroke.

Think if you are a stroke survivor you don’t have to worry? Think again!

Having a stroke increases the risk of a second one. One-in-four stroke survivors end up having another.

RESOURCES: CDC stroke facts | 20 things you didn’t know about stroke that may save a life