Stroke Awareness

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. And nearly two million brain cells die each minute a stroke goes untreated. During Stroke Awareness Month, Saint Thomas Health’s Dr. Frank Lafranchise joined us on Community Health Matters to discuss how to quickly recognize the symptoms of a stroke and seek immediate treatment. View his segment here.

Each year, nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke and 200,000 people will die from its symptoms. Recent medical innovations have improved the overall mortality rate of stroke, but it’s still a major health issue across the country and here in middle Tennessee. Older people have a higher risk of stroke. But, it’s important to remember a third of all strokes happen in people under the age of 55.

A stroke is an attack of the brain that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted and results in damage to the brain tissue. There are two main types of stroke depending on how the blood flow is blocked. The most common type is a clot in the blood vessel and the less common type is a blood vessel rupture. Both types can be associated with very good outcomes if the person quickly seeks treatment.

Use the acronym FAST to spot the warning signs that you or a loved one is experiencing a stroke:

F – Face drooping

A – Arm weakness

S – Speech difficulty

T – Time to call 911

And, as always, prevention is key. To lower your risk of having a stroke, maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, staying physically active and attempting to lose weight if you are overweight. If you have high blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels, take active steps to reduce those risk factors. Finally, if you are a smoker, stop smoking immediately.

Learn more about risk factors and treatment of stroke by visiting the Saint Thomas Health website at and searching for “Stroke.”

Stroke awareness

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. St Thomas Health’s Dr. Frank Lafranchise joins us this afternoon to discuss the warning signs. A great rule-of-thumb to remember is FAST – Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911.