Open Accessibility Menu

May is Stroke Awareness Month, here's how to spot a stroke.

  • Category: Press Release
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Marshall Medical Center

Spot a Stroke and Act FAST

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke is the difference between life, death and disability. For Americans, strokes are not only the leading cause of disability but are also one of the top causes of death.

Strokes can be caused by a blocked artery, impairing blood flow to the brain. They can also be caused by a rupture of a blood vessel, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the brain. “Lack of blood circulation in the brain can lead to paralysis, vision or language problems, behavioral changes or memory loss,” says Scott Vasconcellos, MD, of Marshall Cardiology.

Strokes can come without warning. It’s important to know the symptoms for yourself and for others. Call 911 immediately you recognize the following:

  • Dizziness, or problems with balance

  • Numbness in the arms, legs or face

  • Confusion or difficulty speaking

  • Loss of vision or double vision

  • Severe headache.


Seconds matter when it comes to stroke treatment. Depending on the type of stroke, healthcare professionals may administer clot-busting or hemorrhaging-reduction medication to reverse the stroke. Emergency surgery may also be necessary to stop bleeding into the brain. “Every minute counts,” explains Dr. Vasconcellos. “There is a short window of three hours from the first symptoms to combat permanent effects.”

Anyone can have a stroke; you may not know you’re at risk until you experience symptoms. “There are risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, irregular heartbeat, family history and a narrowing of the arteries,” says Dr. Vasconcellos. “If you have one or more of these conditions, speak to your doctor about a stroke screening test.”

Strokes can be prevented through lifestyle choices: exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, managing your weight and not smoking. Control chronic conditions with medication and by seeing your doctor regularly.

Marshall’s Emergency Department is a Stroke Center, certified by The Joint Commission. Recently, the dedicated stroke team was placed on the American College of Emergency Physicians’ E-QUAL Honor Roll for both top performance and most improvement in certain measures. The team includes a physician, registered nurse, phlebotomist and CT technician and stands at the ready to respond to all potential stroke patients. Following protocols and national standards, Marshall’s Stroke Team upholds a high standard of care.

Act FAST: A simple way to remember the signs of stroke:

F – Face. Is one side of the face drooping?

A – Arms. Are the arms suddenly weak?

S – Speech. Are words difficult to form?

T – Time to call 911.