You remember trying to find a good hiding spot while your brother quickly counted to 40 during hide-n-seek as a child. You’ve had to take a deep breath and count to 40 before a big meeting or stepping into you mother-in-laws noisy house on a holiday. You grow up to be 40 just like that. Forty comes at you fast when you count it: 1… 2… 3… 39… 40…

Every 40 Seconds Counts

So just imagine that every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. Every 40 seconds. That’s 2,160 strokes each day; and 15,120 strokes a week. Yet even though stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability, fewer than one in five people in the U.S. can recognize even one symptom of a stroke. And one of the biggest reason, it goes unnoticed: it doesn’t hurt, like a heart attack does.

Two Million Brain Cells Die Every Minute During Stroke

A stroke, or "brain attack," occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. Two million brain cells die every minute during stroke, increasing risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death.

The devastating impact of stroke:

  • Stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year — that’s 1 in every 19 deaths.
  • Stroke kills nearly twice as many American women every year as breast cancer.
  • About 40 percent of stroke deaths occur in males, and 60 percent in females.

The Comprehensive Stroke Center at Long Beach Medical Center has a leading stroke and interventional neuroradiology team dedicated to stroke prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The team knows that educating the community on the visual cue or triggers needed to identify a stroke can change that “every 40 second” statistic. Because your family and friends who are experiencing a stroke may not even realize and can’t express any real pain they feel.

FAST: Stroke Symptoms

To recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke remember the acronym: BE FAST. 

B – BALANCE: Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?

E – EYES: Are there sudden vision changes?

F – FACE: Does one side of the face droop when the person smiles?

A – ARM or Leg Weakness: Does one arm/leg drift downward when raised?

S – SPEECH: Is their speech slurred or strange?

T – TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

“Time is crucial in the treatment of stroke, as on average, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke and roughly every four minutes someone dies from a stroke,” says Angie West, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNRN, director, Comprehensive Stroke Center, Long Beach Medical Center. “The earlier a stroke is recognized and the patient receives medical attention, the greater chance of recovery.”

Stroke is a medical emergency and being able to recognize and respond to stroke symptoms fast can save lives.

Anyone can have a stroke no matter your age, race or gender. Ask your physician for tips on managing your current health conditions to reduce your risk for stroke.

Stroke is a Medical Emergency

If you think you or someone else is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately and note the time of when any of the symptoms first appear. Do not drive yourself or wait for a ride from a friend or family member. Have an ambulance take you to the hospital that is a stroke receiving center right away.

Designated Stroke Receiving Centers