UNDATED (WJRT) -
(08/26/14) - Stroke kills 130,000 Americans every year. That's one out of every 19 deaths.
It's also a leading cause of disability.
Would you recognize the signs of a stroke if it was happening to you - or a loved one?
Recognizing the signs of a stroke is not always easy. Brad Fahrenkamp, a young father, had no idea what was happening to him until the situation became critical.
The day started like any other for Brad and Sara Fahrenkamp - breakfast before work with their two little boys.
But suddenly, Brad got very sick.
"He said, ' I just don't feel, i feel kind of nauseous and flu-like. I'm just going to stay home today,'" Sara said.
Throughout their marriage, Brad had always been healthy. By night time, they knew something was very wrong.
"My left arm and part of my face were numb and tingling. And when I tried to stand up to dress myself, I fell right to the floor," he said.
"I was absolutely shocked when the physician in the ER said to us, 'Your husband has had not just one stroke, but three strokes,''" Sara said.
A stroke occurs when blood flow is blocked to the brain, or blood leaks in the brain - damaging brain cells. Symptoms occur in the parts of the body controlled by those cells.
"The quicker that you can obtain emergency services and emergency care, the quicker you can receive treatment and medication that can hopefully stop the stroke or prevent it from becoming worse," said Paige Thomas, PT-MSR, neurological physical therapist.
That's why experts say it's important to know the stroke warning signs: numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, speech or vision problems, dizziness, severe headache and nausea.
Brad survived and is recovering well thanks to intensive therapy.
"Seek help as fast as possible. It's one thing that you won't regret," he said.
Doctors with the American Stroke Association say that your chances of recovery are better if you can get medical treatment within about three hours of a stroke. While stroke can happen to anyone, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure are significant risk factors.