Today is World Stroke Day and the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association is urging everyone to learn the warning signs of stroke and to reduce the threat of stroke in their lives and the lives of loved ones.  According to figures from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association one in six people worldwide will have a stroke over the course of their lifetime.  In The United States someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds.

In 2013 an estimated 795,000 people will suffer a first or recurrent stroke.  Several major factors are leading contributors in causing strokes.  At the top of the list is smoking.  Current smokers have two to four times the stroke risk of nonsmokers or of those who quit smoking at least 10 years ago.

Other causes of stroke are: High blood pressure.  An estimated 78 million Americans have hypertension.  77% of those who have a first stroke have blood pressure higher than 140/90mm Hg.  Atrial fibrillation increases stroke risk up to five times and about 15% of strokes are preceded by a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or mini stroke.

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association remind people to be aware of stroke's warning signs using the acronym F.A.S.T:

F - Face drooping.  Does one side of the face droop or is numb ?

A-  Arm weakness.  Is one arm weak or numb ?

S- Speech Difficulty.  Is speech slurred or hard to understand ?

T - Time to call 9-1-1.  If the person shows one or more of these symptoms it is time to call 9-1-1.

Recognizing a stroke is crucial in getting treatment as quickly as possible.  Minutes and even seconds can determine whether a person suffers permanent and devastating effects.  For the latest information on diagnosing and treating stroke victims visist