BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — Sunday is World Stroke Day, and the American Heart Association says it’s important to know the signs, as it can be a matter of life or death.

A stroke can happen to anyone. In fact, the American Heart Association says about 1 in 4 adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime. Doctors say it’s essential everyone knows the most common signs of a stroke. They are known as the fast signs.

F – is for face drooping. Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
A – is for arm weakness.
S – is for speech. Is the person having trouble making sense, or slurring their words?
T – is for time to call 911. If you or someone else is experiencing these symptoms, it is an emergency and will require immediate treatment.

“Often other people notice it before the patient notices it themselves. I think it’s critical to identify this early because if you want to treat stroke in the best way possible, you must get the patient immediate medical care,” said Dr. Justin Dunn, cardiologist and AHA volunteer. “This is not something you can say, ‘Let me call my doctor in the morning.'”

Dr. Dunn said there is medication that can help break up the blood clot causing the stroke, or there are medical procedures that can pull the clots out of the brain. These methods are most effective and have the best success when the patient can be seen immediately.

The AHA said strokes can be preventable. They say know the signs and the risk factors. Though anyone can have a stroke, some people are more at risk than others.

Doctors say it’s important to know your numbers, like blood pressure and cholesterol. People with high blood pressure or cholesterol are at a higher risk. Also, those who have diabetes can be at risk.

The AHA says 1 in 4 stroke survivors will have another stroke. Doctors say for most people, making healthy lifestyle choices will keep your chances of having a stroke low.

“The American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association really encourages patients to understand what their risk factors are. Meaning, going to your doctor, knowing what your blood pressure is, know if you have high cholesterol,” Dr. Dunn said. “These things are sometimes things we don’t feel, so we have to be aware that getting them checked frequently and with a physician we trust are very important.”