[Lecanto, Fla.]The Florida Department of Health in Citrus County (DOH-Citrus)
recognizes May as Stroke Awareness Month, an observance that highlights the importance of
knowing the risk factors, symptoms, and prevention of stroke.
Nationally as well as for Florida,
stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a major cause of serious disability for adults.
Although stroke risk increases with age, a stroke can happen at any age.

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain and occurs when the
blood supply is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and
nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes. Early action can reduce brain damage and other

“Having a stroke is a medical emergency. Recognizing warning signs and seeking prompt
treatment is important,” says Ernesto “Tito” Rubio, Administrator for DOH-Citrus. Those who
have concerns about their health factors should talk to their doctor. “Taking preventive steps,
such as maintaining a healthy weight, can be key to stopping strokes before they start.”

Know the Warning Signs of a Stroke

The most important part of getting timely treatment for a stroke is to know and understand the
warning signs as described by the
B.E. F.A.S.T. acronym.

B – Balance

Is the person suddenly having trouble with balance or coordination?

E – Eyes

Is the person experiencing suddenly blurred or double vision or a sudden loss of vision in one or
both eyes without pain?

F – Face

Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

A – Arms

Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech

Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to
repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T – Time

If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get
them to the hospital immediately.

Take Action to Lower Risk of Having a Stroke

The most effective way to lower the risk of having a stroke is to prevent one from happening in
the first place. Risk factors for stroke that can be changed, treated, or medically managed

  •  High Blood Pressure. Blood pressure of 140/90 or higher can damage blood vessels
    (arteries) that supply blood to the brain.
    Make sure to get medical treatment if it is high.
  •  Diabetes. People with unmanaged diabetes are at greater risk for a stroke than
    someone without diabetes. To prevent stroke, people with diabetes should control blood
    glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight.
  •  Smoking. You can reduce your risk of having a stroke by stopping smoking. Smoking
    can damage blood vessels as well as the heart and lead to other health diseases that
    can impact stroke risk.
  •  Unhealthy Diet. A healthy diet is one of the best tools for fighting stroke. Incorporating
    more fruits and veggies into your diet and decreasing your salt intake to less than 1,500
    mg a day is a great start to healthier eating.
  •  High Blood Cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can contribute to thickening or
    hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) caused by a buildup of plaque. By controlling
    their cholesterol, a person is giving their arteries the best chance to remain clear of
  •  Lack of Exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day, five days a week.
    But even 10 minutes of exercise a day offers health benefits.
  •  Excessive alcohol use. More than 2 drinks per day may raise a person’s blood
    pressure. Binge drinking can lead to stroke.

  •  Excess Weight. Obesity increases your risk for stroke. Losing weight can help lower
    your blood pressure and reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and

For more information about DOH-Citrus, go to follow us on
Twitter at


About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to
protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state,
county, and community efforts.

Follow us on
Facebook,Instagramand Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit

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