It only takes minutes for brain cells to die when a stroke occurs. A stroke happens when blood supply to the brain is interrupted or severely reduced.
That's why it's so important to understand the signs and symptoms of a stroke. The acronym FAST can help identify those warning signs: face, arms, speech and time.
"People should remember an acronym. Its simple... FAST," said Dr. Rabi Tawk from the Mayo Clinic. "F is for the face. When they smile if the face droops to one side A is for the arms if people put their arms up and the one side drifts down. S is for speech if you cannot repeat a sentence, you've got to suspect they've had a stroke. T is for time. It's time to act, time to call 911 and ask for help."
He says every minute counts because when brain cells die, they don't come back. Diabetes, hypertension and smoking all put individuals at a greater risk for stroke.