A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced. This deprives your brain of oxygen and nutrients, which can cause your brain cells to die. A blocked artery or the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel can cause a stroke.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America, and the leading cause of adult disability. There are both lifestyle and medical risk factors that raise one’s chances of having a stroke. Being overweight, physically inactive, and abusing drugs and alcohol increase your risk, as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

A stroke is a medical emergency and the faster you can react, the better. Remembering the acronym F.A.S.T. is the best way to quickly identify the symptoms of a stroke.

F: Facial Drooping
A: Arm Weakness
S: Speech Difficulty
T: Time to Call 9-1-1 if the first three symptoms are present.