Stroke Awareness Month reminds us to watch for the early signs

May is stroke awareness month - that's why it's so important to know the risk factors and how to spot the symptoms before it's too late.

On Friday there was a concert outside Ascension Hospital in Warren. It was a special event for the healthcare providers there - to make sure the people taking care of all of us throughout this stressful pandemic, are taking care of themselves...

Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, an unhealthy diet and diabetes. All risk factors even our doctors and nurses - have to watch out for.

"Sometimes we end up being some of the patients that forget to take care of ourselves when we're taking care of others," said Dr.Julius Griauzde.

"Are you staying hydrated - are you seeing your doctors - are you even just taking a day to relax and rejuvenate," said Jessica Lenneman, Ascension RN.

"As a nurse working on a stroke unit, I'm very aware that we need to make sure that we're having self care, making good lifestyle choices," said Chloe Miner, Ascension RN.  "And then as well, following up with our primary care providers to make sure we are being screened and knowing our risk factors for having a stroke."

And that's not all - the signs and symptoms of a stroke can be memorized with the acronym BE FAST. It stands for Balance, Eyes, Face, Arms Speech and Time.

"Drooping on the side of the face, or moving one side of the face, trouble moving an arm or a leg, trouble with your speech - speaking, if you notice someone slurring - or the inability to find words," said Dr. Griauzde.

Griauzde is a neurointerventional surgeon with Ascension Health - he says if you see those symptoms in yourself or someone else - call 911.

"The faster we recognize the symptoms of a stroke, the faster we get the patient diagnosed, and to a place where they can be treated, the better outcome the patient will have," he said.

That's because a stroke is caused by a blood clot in the blood vessels in the brain which can cause permanent damage.

The brain tissue is starving for blood supply which provides nourishment to those tissues - so the key is getting that blood flow restored," he said.

And since stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability...knowing your risk factors, signs and symptoms, could make all the difference.

Dr. Julius Griauzde.

Dr. Julius Griauzde.