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Recognizing signs of stroke | Healthwatch 16

Geisinger experts say recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and acting fast is crucial to minimizing the impact.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and acting fast is crucial to minimizing the impact.

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries within and leading to the brain. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States, but according to Geisinger, a large number of strokes are preventable.

Dr. Varun Pulakanti, the director of outpatient vascular neurology at Geisinger, sees between 2,000 and 3,000 stroke patients each year.

"That's just from patients who come into the hospital with strokes or mini-strokes or TIAs. So nationwide, you're talking about a pretty sizeable patient load or population," said Dr. Pulakanti

Dr. Pulakanti says recognizing stroke symptoms is crucial for minimizing the impact. He uses the acronym "BE FAST.

Things to look for are changes in a person's balance, vision loss in their eyes, uneven facial expressions, arm weakness, and slurred speech. Time is crucial when dealing with stroke.

Credit: WNEP

"The hope is that we prevent this from ever happening, but when it happens, the sooner you get to the hospital, the better and the more options we have for intervening."

There are steps people can take to reduce the likelihood of having a stroke, like exercising 30 minutes a day and modifying their diet.

"We're talking about lots of fruits, lots of veggies, really fixing or limiting that meat intake profile from the red meats of the world to more chicken and fish."

Dr. Pulakanti recommends patients come to the hospital as soon as they start experiencing stroke symptoms. Calling 911 right away can make a lifesaving difference.

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