Local health expert sheds light on stroke signs & symptoms in wake of Luke Perry’s death

Stroke awareness

Actor Luke Perry passed away on Monday at 52 years old after suffering a stroke last Wednesday.

Perry is best known for his role on “Beverly Hills 90210” as Dylan Mckay, and more recently for playing Fred Andrews on the CW’s Riverdale.

His passing is reminding men and women of all ages about the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke, as well as ways to prevent one.

“Strokes do not discriminate,” Mary Ann Teeter, Stroke & EMS Program Manager at Arnot Health said. A stroke can happen to any person, at any age. 80% of strokes are preventable, according to Teeter.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. 

Teeter said when she first took on her role in 2005, stroke was the third leading cause.

“So we have made headway,” Teeter said. “But it’s still the leading cause of disability.”

She described a stroke as “a brain attack” and said it can be caused by either a blockage, or a bleed.

“We look for sudden onset of symptoms- sudden change in speech, sudden weakness in an arm or leg,” Teeter said.

An easy way to remember the signs of a stroke is by using the acronym F.A.S.T. – which stands for “face,” “arms,” “speech,” and “time to call 9-1-1.” If you notice any sudden changes in your face, such as drooping, arms, such as weakness, or your speech, such as difficulty talking, it is time to call 9-1-1.

Recovery can last anywhere from months, to years.

“It all depends on the real estate – where it happens,” Teeter said. 

In terms of prevention, Teeter said it’s important to look at your risk factors. Smoking, poor diet, exercise, family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, are just a few of those factors. 

For more information, visit the American Stroke Association’s website.

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