GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – This Saturday is recognized as World Stroke Day. Doctors say strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, which is why it’s important to raise awareness, especially in Eastern North Carolina.

In the U.S., every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke. In ENC, it’s even more common as this area is known to be in the middle of the stroke belt.

There are several risk factors leading to those statistics such as high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking, but there are ways to be aware of strokes and possibly prevent further damage. Doctors use the acronym BE FAST: B for loss of balance, E for eye vision, F for facial symptoms, A for arm weakness, S for slurred speech and T for time is crucial.

“If you recognize someone is having one of the symptoms of BE FAST, make sure you call 911 right away because a stroke right now is a medical and surgical management,” said Dr. Nurose Karim, an ECU Health neurologist. “If you make it within the first three to 4.5 hours you might be a candidate to get a clogged medication and up to 24 hours, it is a surgical treatment, so the faster you can get there, the better.”

ECU Health Medical Center is a comprehensive stroke center which means they have specialists on hand 24-7 to provide care that’s needed for stroke patients.

For more information on the resources they provide, click on this link.