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Experts working to increase awareness in May for Stroke Awareness Month

Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke.
Illustration of a stroke
Posted at 5:42 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 17:59:01-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke and according to the American Stroke Association, 80 percent of strokes are preventable.

“I’m left-handed so now I have to do everything right-handed and my left side is not as normal, I can’t, I can barely open and close my hand," stroke survivor, Chuck Cowart, said.

In 2017 Cowart said he felt "off."

“My whole left side was like really numb," Cowart explained.

He suffered an ischemic stroke. He had slurred speech and numbness which are two signs people should look out for.

“B for balance, e for eyes, f for face, a for arms, s for speech, and t for time. If you any kind of dysfunction, in any of those things, you have to be worried about stroke," Dr. Michael Sanders, Emergency Medicine Physician at St. Joseph Hospital, said.

Dr. Sanders said when it comes to stroke, time is of the essence.

“Get to the hospital as soon as you can, a lot of people think well, I want to wait a little bit, see if this kind of goes away on its own," Dr. Sanders added.

He told ABC Action News that in a time people are under a lot of stress it’s important to get frequent check-ups and pay attention to your body.

“Stress leads to high blood pressure. People who have extremely high blood pressure are at risk for hemorrhagic stroke and bleeding into your brain. So I think blood pressure control is really important," Dr. Sanders added.

Dr. Sanders said medication and things like yoga and a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of stroke. Also limiting caffeine, smoking, and alcohol.

Coward said he’s thankful he went to the emergency room when he did.

“I survived a stroke. My doctor told me I may never walk again. But look at me now. I may not be able to run a marathon but I’m walking even just a little bit," Coward added.