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Knowing signs of a stroke is vital when minimizing damage

Stroke survivor Tony Brown is encouraging everyone to be aware of the signs of a stroke in order to help avoid its catastrophic effects / Matt Thielke (WGXA)

MACON, Ga, -- The month of May is Stroke Awareness Month.

Stroke survivor Tony Brown is encouraging everyone to be aware of the signs of a stroke in order to help avoid its catastrophic effects.

Brown, who previously worked as an orthopedic tech at Coliseum Medical Center in Macon, suffered a stroke as he was entering an operating room to set a cast on a patient in August of 2015.

He said that 15 minutes prior, he was feeling perfectly fine while driving down the interstate to the hospital. But as the stroke happened, he said he started to feel lightheaded and then noticed that he was drooling. He said he went into the operating room and notified the doctor that he was having a stroke and 30 minutes later he was completely paralyzed on his left side.

Brown said that he was fortunate to have already been in a hospital when he suffered his stroke and was aware of the symptoms to act quickly.

He encourages everyone to know the signs. He said an important to know the acronym FAST--which stands for face, arms, speech and time.

When identifying the signs of a stroke, the first thing you should look for is a sudden drooping of the face or drooling. Next, ask the person to lift both of their arms, if one arm is weaker or slower than the other, this may be a problem. Third, slurred speech can also be a sign of a stroke. Finally, time is of the essence when minimizing damage caused by a stroke. Get to a doctor immediately if all of the other three signs are present.

Brown said that recovery from a stroke never ends. He said that it is a long and tedious process because essentially you are retraining your brain to send signals to your limbs, which can be extremely difficult.

He said it is important to know the signs and to be supportive of friends or family members who may have suffered from a stroke.


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