CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - If you haven't had your blood pressure checked anytime lately, you need to. That's one of the top messages from the Centers for Disease Control on World Stroke Day.
Stroke is known as the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S. making this day of awareness so important.
"Day of awareness leads to discussion. Discussion leads to intent. Intent takes you to your pharmacy or to your doctor to check your blood pressure," said neurologist Dr. Joseph Hanna at MetroHealth Medical Center.
He sees the devastation caused by strokes every day and can't stress enough that it does not have to be that way.
"If we can get to you in a certain time frame we can do something, we can reverse the disability ratio," Dr. Hanna said.
That is where the term "FAST" comes in. It's an acronym to help you recognize and react to a stroke.
- F: facial drooping
- A: arm weakness
- S: speech difficulty
- T: time to get help
"I couldn't speak normally, I couldn't get my words out, I couldn't read, I couldn't write," said Rana Meyer.
Meyer suffered a stroke one year ago. She learned the hard way what so many others still don't understand: you don't have to be older.
Meyer was 37 when her doctor warned her about her health.
"He said you have to go to the ER, your blood pressure is very high and I'm like, 'phfff I'm not going to the ER that's crazy," Meyer recalled.
To prevent stroke, Dr. Hanna says to keep your blood pressure in check mostly by keeping your weight in check.
For most people, that means curbing salt in your diet and exercising.
Aside from hypertension, the leading cause of a stroke is smoking.
For more information about signs of a stroke and what to do, visit the American Heart Association.