Stroke Awareness Month: Understanding the symptoms can save a life

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 3:47 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - May is National Stroke Awareness Month. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death, and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that brings oxygen to the brain is blocked by a blood clot or bursts.

It can happen to anyone at any age. Health professionals want everyone to remember the acronym BE FAST when it comes to recognizing the signs of a stroke.

  • B - Balance, loss of balance, headache or dizziness
  • E - Eyes, changes in vision
  • F - Face drooping on one side
  • A - Arm weakness
  • S - Speech difficulty
  • T- Time to call 911

“The sooner you recognize the symptoms of stroke, the quicker we can start the treatment process. Because every minute, we lose nearly 2 million brain cells during the stroke. And so time is very important,” Dr. Biraj Patel, a neuro interventional radiologist at Carilion Clinic, said.

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and Centra’s Lynchburg General Hospital recently got a stroke program certification.

Dr. Patel says the certification sets a standard of car. He says it takes a village - from EMS workers, to nurses, physical therapists, and doctors - to treat stroke.