May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Know the Signs

May 10, 2019

Someone has a stroke every 40 seconds in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May is Stroke Awareness month, a time when people are encouraged to empower themselves with knowledge surrounding the signs of stroke, reducing the risk of stroke and taking action when stroke occurs.

“It’s a myth that strokes are completely random. There are things you can do to manage your risk factors for stroke including quitting smoking, managing your diabetes, getting moderate exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. It’s also important to keep your blood pressure within the healthy range, as high blood pressure increases your risk for stroke and several other serious conditions, like a heart attack,” said Joshua Feinstein, MD, FACEP, an emergency physician affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center.

The acronym BE FAST can help people quickly recognize common signs of stroke and know when to take action:

  • Balance – Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
  • Eyes – Is there sudden blurred or double vision, or sudden, persistent vision trouble?
  • Face Drooping– Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
  • Arm Weakness – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one side drift downward? Is there weakness or numbness on one side?
  • Speech Difficulty – Does the person have slurred or garbled speech? Can he/she repeat a simple phrase, such as “The sky is blue.”?
  • Time to Call 911 – Call 911 if you notice one or more of these signs, even if the symptoms go away. Tell the 911 operator you think it’s a stroke. Also, take note of when symptoms began.

“There’s a phrase, ‘time is brain’, meaning the faster you can get treatment for a stroke, the better the chances of recovery,” Dr. Feinstein said.

The neuroscience program at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center brings together a collaborative group of affiliated fellowship-trained, board-certified neurologists and neurosurgeons supported by a highly trained, specialized and dedicated nursing staff. As a team, they are prepared to treat acute brain, spinal cord and neural conditions, so patients can receive advanced treatment close to home. For more information on neuroscience care, visit

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