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ST. LOUIS – It happens without warning. Suddenly you go from feeling fine to having a stroke. You need to get help quickly. The longer a person waits for treatment, the more brain tissue dies.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a major cause of serious disability. Strokes also kill more women than men. It’s the fourth leading cause of death in women.

May is stroke awareness month, so we asked Dr. Jin-Moo Lee, a Washington University neurologist at Barnes Jewish Hospital to explain what a stroke looks like and how to prevent one.

A stroke is either caused by the blockage of an artery or the rupture of an artery in the brain and if left untreated, it can lead to permanent brain damage.

There are medicines that can help lessen the damage of a stroke. A drug called TPA, if administered within three hours of having a stroke can be crucial. A thrombectomy procedure can also be used to extract the clots that cause a stroke.

There is an acronym to help people recognize the signs of a stroke in another person, Be FAST.
F – Face drooping
A – Arm weakness
S – Speech difficulty
T – Time to call 911

It’s important to exercise and eat a healthy diet, but it’s also important for those with high blood pressure or diabetes to manage those in order to prevent a stroke.

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