May has been designated American Stroke Month.  The American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association is asking everyone to learn two things that may save someone's life.

The first thing they emphasize is to know if you are at risk of a stroke.  The second item is to know the stroke warning signs.  Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.  Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.

According to the American Stroke Association (ASA) the number one cause of stroke is high blood pressure.  Other leading factors include being overweight and high cholesterol.

The ASA also teaches people to recognize the signs of a stroke and what to do if one occurs.  The acronym F.A.S.T. is often used to help people recognize a stroke.

F- stands for face drooping.  Is one side of the face drooping or numb ?  Ask the person to smile...can they ?

A - stands for arm weakness.  Is one arm weak or numb ?  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward ?

S - speech difficulty.  Is the person's speech slurred ?

T - time to call 9-1-1.  If the person you believe has suffered a stroke exhibits any of the mentioned symptoms call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately.

Other stroke signs include:  a sudden, severe headache with no known cause; sudden difficulty walking; loss of balance and coordination; sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; sudden confusion or trouble understanding.

Additional information is available by calling 1-888-4STROKE or by going online at strokeassociation.org.  You can also visit StrokeAssociation.org/strokemonth..

WNBF News/Roger Neel Photo