Know the warning signs of a stroke so you can act fast

80% of strokes are preventable, experts say

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – May is American Stroke Awareness Month. Strokes are a leading cause of preventable death, but the lack of awareness, education, and resources are major barriers to stopping it.

Someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds, and every four minutes someone dies of one.

Former national news TV personality Mark McEwen went from an all-time high to rock bottom after suffering from a massive stroke.

“When I woke up in the hospital and the doctor said, ‘You’ve had a stroke.’ I thought ‘Uhh ... what’s that,’” McEwen said.

You should know the warning signs of strokes so that you can act fast.

First, watch for a sudden loss of balance.

There often is a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, or double vision. Ask the person to smile and check to see if one side of their face drops. Have them raise both arms and see if one arm slowly moves downward. And be sure to ask the person to repeat a simple sentence and check to see if their words are slurred or the sentence is repeated incorrectly. If a person shows any of these symptoms, call 911.

“I always say when you are young you have armor around you, as you get older that armor gets thinner and thinner, McEwen said. “Your job is to help that armor to protect you.”

Eighty percent of strokes that occur are preventable.

Eating healthy, being physically active, and controlling risk factors are important as lifestyle changes can help prevent and beat your chances of having a stroke.

Having a stroke increases the risk of a second one. One-in-four stroke survivors end up having another, experts say.