ST. CLOUD -- Early recognition can be the key difference between life or death when it comes to suffering from a stroke.

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According to the American Stroke Association, strokes are a leading cause of serious and long-term disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

Strokes occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures.

Leah Roering is a stroke specialist with CentraCare. She says there are several factors that can play into someone having a stroke.

Sometimes it can run in families if you have a genetic disorder, but generally, people with a family history of stroke are liking to share common environments like if your family smokes or have bad eating habits.

According to the American Stroke Association, about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year, killing nearly 130,000 of them.

Roering says treatment may be available if you get to the emergency room at the first signs of stroke.

Warning signs you're in the process of having a stroke could be weakness in the face, arms or legs on one side of your body, partial or full loss of vision, trouble speaking, or loss of balance.

Roering says failure to get help when experiencing an acute stroke could result in paralysis, speech problems or other long-term effects.

May is Stroke Awareness Month.


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