Sponsored By LifeBridge Health

May is Stroke Awareness Month, a time to increase awareness about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need to seek medical treatment as quickly as possible when a stroke occurs.

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States.

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People who are overweight and smoke, as well as those who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and/or diabetes, have a higher risk of stroke. Time is very critical to stroke response. There are treatments that can help lessen the damage caused by a stroke—such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a clot-busting agent—but swift medical treatment is crucial to their success, says Richard Jung, M.D., a LifeBridge Health vascular neurologist and neurointerventional surgeon and director of the stroke program at The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute.

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“The faster you get to the hospital, the more likely you will benefit from this medication regaining lost function from the stroke,” says Dr. Jung. “If you come too late to the hospital, then chances of this medication working decrease and you may not be eligible to receive it.”

In other words, when you notice the symptoms of a stroke, it’s important to BEFAST (Balance, Eyes, Face, Arms, Speech, Time). This easy-to-remember acronym is used to describe the main signs of stroke you should be looking for, which are:

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  • BALANCE: Does the person have a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
  • EYES: Is the person experiencing double vision or are they unable to see out of one eye?
  • FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one side drift downward?
  • SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?
  • TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately

For more information on stroke, you can visit the American Stroke Association’s website at stroke.org. To learn more about Dr. Jung and see his featured ad in Baltimore magazine, visit lifebridgehealth.org/meetus. Visit lifebridgehealth.org/cardio and lifebridgehealth.org/stroke to find out more about stroke-related services offered by our renowned, multidisciplinary team of experts at LifeBridge Health.