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May is National Stroke Awareness Month

By learning and sharing the BE-FAST warning signs, you could save a life

CENTRAL COAST, CA – May 2, 2022 – Stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the Nation suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability, and speeding recovery times.

In order to protect loved ones from the devastating effects of a stroke, it is important to know the warning signs and act quickly. Use the letters BE-FAST to spot a stroke:

  • Balance: Loss of balance or coordination, dizziness.
  • Eyes: Vision changes in one eye or both.
  • Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
  • Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. 

In addition, watch for sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination; severe headache with no known cause.

“When it comes to stroke, time is brain,” says Alicia Gonzalez, MD, Medical Director, Marian Regional Medical Center Emergency Department. “Patients who seek emergency care as quickly as possible often experience the best outcomes. If you or your loved one are having these symptoms, don’t hesitate; call 9-1-1 right away.”

Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals are all designated Primary Stroke Centers, a distinction recognizing facilities that follow the best practices for stroke care. The facilities also provide integrated services in stroke diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.

A stroke is an emergency, and calling 9-1-1 allows first responders to begin treatment before arriving at the hospital, saving vital brain cells. Early treatment of a stroke - which can occur at any age - leads to higher survival rates and lower disability rates.


About Dignity Health Central Coast

Dignity Health Central Coast is comprised of five award-winning hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety, and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services, and comprehensive home health services. For more information, visit

Publish date: 

Monday, May 02, 2022