May is American stroke month, and by remembering 5 simple things you could help save a life by recognizing the signs of this potentially deadly disease.
Last year, we met Sara Biorn, a stroke survivor who shared her story with us, with the hope that someone else's life could be saved.
Sara Biorn says, "I woke up and the room was spinning just a little bit. What caused it? And he goes, well it's a PFO, it's a hole in your heart."
Sara did not recognize the signs of her stroke, and drifted in and out of consciousness for a day before she finally contacted someone to help her.
As Operations Manager for Gold Cross, Tom Beniak knows how important it is for a person to seek action when they think they're having a stroke.
Tom Beniak says, "It certainly is preventable. Making sure we keep our blood pressure in check, making sure we are treating that. The key is early recognition of signs and symptoms of stroke."
So how do you recognize signs of a stroke?
A number of health organizations have joined together to develop an easy method for remembering all five stroke symptoms.
Ask the person if they can walk. Is their balance off?
Can they talk? Is their speech slurred or face droopy?
Ask them to reach. Is one side weaker than the other?
Can they see? Is their vision all or partly lost?
And finally, ask how they are feeling. Is their headache severe?
Beniak says, "Early recognition is improving the outcome of patients."
And if you can't remember the signs or if you're not sure what's wrong.
Biorn says, "Just pick up the phone and call 911."
A few simple actions that could save your life or someone else.