SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The month of May is Stroke Awareness Month and is aimed at educating people about the signs of a stroke and how prevalent they can be.

The American Heart Association reports that there are around 800,000 cases of strokes annually, which is about as common as a heart attack.

UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s has its own distinguished stroke center and coordinator Jennifer Heuertz said identifying a stroke in a timely manner can absolutely save lives.

“That is where the time comes in because there are sometimes opportunities for us to give medication to improve that blood flow to dissolve a cot before there’s a lot of damage that’s done to your brain,” said Heuertz.

Heuertz said the acronym “BE FAST” can be used to remember common symptoms of a person suffering from a stroke. The acronym means balance, eyes, face, arm, speech, and time, which is designed to help people recognize common symptoms of a stroke and to call 911 right away.