Actor Luke Perry's stroke puts spotlight on symptoms, treatment

Posted: Updated:
SUMMIT -

As actor Luke Perry continues to recover from a massive stroke, fans across the country are learning more about his medical condition.

Perry's medical episode at 52 years old shocked many, but it did not surprise the head of the Stroke Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, Dr. John Hanna.

Hanna is reminding people of the risk factors behind a stroke. There are some that cannot be controlled, like age and genetics, and others that can be helped -- like high blood pressure, cardiac disease, diabetes and high cholesterol.

As for symptoms, Hanna says to remember FAST: face drooping, arm weakness, slurred speech and time. He says the faster a person gets to an emergency room or stroke center, the better for chances of recovery.

"Thirty-two thousand neurons die each second, so every second counts in stroke recovery," says Hanna. "Stroke itself is fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Should we be concerned? Not on a day-to-day basis. But always understand these are my risk factors or my medical problems."

Doctors say race and gender also play a role in risk factors for stroke. African-Americans are more likely to have strokes, while men tend to suffer strokes at younger ages. They are also more common in older women, but that is mostly because women tend to have longer life expectancy.

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