May is Stroke Month. About 800,000 people in the U.S. have stroke every year, that is about one every 40 seconds. It is the 5th leading cause of death in the United States, and 3rd leading cause of death for African Americans.

A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain is either blocked or burst, restricting blood and oxygen to the brain. Within a matter of minutes, tissue can begin to die, but quick treatment can help reduce brain damage and increase the chance of recovery.  Because it often does not hurt, many people ignore the warning signs and do not seek help.

The key is to know the symptoms of a stroke and react quickly. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, the American Stroke Association says to call 9-1-1 immediately.  Every minute can help save their brain function and their life.

We all need to know the acronym BE FAST to detect the signs of a stroke...here is what it stands for...

  • 1

    B - BALANCE

    Severe, sudden onset of balance problems

  • 2

    E - Eyes and Vision

    Unusual trouble with sight in one or both eyes

  • 3

    F - Face Drooping

    Another common warning sign of stroke is face drooping, numbness or tingling.  Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?

  • 4

    A - Arm Weakness

    Arm Weakness or Leg Numbness– someone experiencing a stroke may feel weak or numb on one side of the body.

  • 5

    S - Speech Difficulty

    A person slurs or has trouble getting out words out or understanding words, Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The grass is green." If the sentence is not repeated correctly, seek help.

  • 6

    T - Time

    Time to Call 9-1-1: Even if symptoms appear temporarily, be sure to call 9-1-1 immediately and pay attention to the clock.  You’ll need to know the time the symptoms first appeared.