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Wellness Wednesday | Tips to help survive a stroke

The faster you act at the first signs if a stroke, the better the chance for your - or someone else's - survival.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. Many people don't realize that the faster they act at the first sign of a stroke, the better chance there is of survival. 

One important thing to remember: B.E.F.A.S.T.

"B stands for balance. So sudden loss of balance, the E stands for Eyes. This could be a blind spot in one eye or both eyes or other visual problems that develop suddenly, such as double vision. 

The F stands for fascia. If you notice a drooping of the face on one side or the other. The A stands for arms. If you notice that one arm is weak and not able to hold up. The S stands for speech. That could either mean that someone's words are slurred, or they're not really making sense when they try and speak. Or it could be that they're having trouble understanding. And finally, the T stands for time. So that's BE FAST," says neurosurgeon Dr. Mahesh Jayaraman.

And the whole idea is if you notice any of these symptoms, it's time to call 911.

Dr. Jayaraman says it's important to act fast when you notice these symptoms because about 2 million neurons die every minute that a stroke goes untreated. 

"And if you think about it in terms of a patient, if you have a severe stroke caused by a blockage of a major blood vessel, every minute delay can cost the patient up to a week of disability-free life. That's what it costs the patient, a week where they're able to be alive and care for themselves."

Lastly, Dr. Jayaraman says a great way to help create stroke prevention is to take care of your lifestyle. "Things like your diet, how much exercise and physical activity you get, not smoking, getting a good night's sleep, and then controlling things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes."

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