May is National Stoke Awareness Month, which makes it an opportune time to ensure you are able to recognize the symptoms, know how to avoid them, and what to do if you or a loved one experiences a stroke.

In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 38% of people surveyed knew how to identify a stroke correctly, and knew to call 9-1-1 immediately. Sure, it may seem like a no-brainer, but patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of showing their first signs of a stroke, tend to be healthier 3 months later than those who were delayed.

Strokes are the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 130,000 Americans every year. On average, a single person dies from a stroke every 4 minutes, and claims 1 out of every 19 deaths in the U.S. each year.

Think strokes happen only to the elderly? Think again. In 2009, one-third of those who were hospitalized due to a stroke were under the age of 65.

Consult your doctor for more information on signs and prevention.

Symptoms of a stroke:

  • Sudden severe headaches for no reason
  • Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, legs or arms
  • Sudden confusion, understanding you or trouble speaking properly
  • Sudden trouble walking, loss or balance and coordination or dizziness

What to do if someone is having a stroke:

  • Call 9-1-1 Immediately
  • Act Quickly - The longer that blood flow is cut off from the brain, the great the potential damage

Tips on how to avoid a stroke:

  • Quit Smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet like fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Get physical - take a walk, a bike ride or go to the gym
  • Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure

For more information on how you can avoid a stroke, know it's symptoms and know how to respond, go to