Every minute counts if you or a loved one are experiencing a stroke. That's why, during National Stroke Month, the experts at RWJBarnabas Health are sharing the warning signs of a stroke.

A stroke is a medical emergency in which blood flow is cut off to the brain, either through a blockage in a blood vessel or because of a brain bleed. It can cause permanent brain or nerve damage. Those with a personal or family history of heart disease or high blood pressure are at greater risk of having a stroke, but their doctor can help assess their risk and develop a plan to reduce the risk or respond if it were to occur.

In the meantime, it's important for everyone to understand the warning signs of a stroke so they can react quickly if needed. Just remember BE FAST:

B - Balance – Have you lost your balance, felt a sudden "thunderclap" headache, or felt dizzy? 

E - Eyes – Is your vision blurry? 

F- Face – Is one side of the face numb or drooping? Can you still smile? 

A - Arm – Do you have feeling in both arms? Can you raise them both up without one drifting down? 

S - Speech – Can you speak without slurring words and form coherent sentences? 

T- Time – Call 911 immediately if any of the above symptoms occur. 

Rest assured, if the unthinkable does happen, RWJBarnabas Health operates state-designated comprehensive stroke centers and provides comprehensive care for a full spectrum of neurological disorders affecting adults and children. To learn more, visit rwjbh.org/treatment-care/neuroscience.

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