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DOH-Marion encourages the public to ‘BE FAST’ with stopping strokes

May 16, 2022


Ocala, Fla.—The Florida Department of Health in Marion County recognizes May as Stroke Awareness Month, an observance that highlights the importance of knowing risk factors, symptoms, and prevention tips of stroke. 

Nationally as well as for Florida, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death and a major cause of serious disability for adults. Although stroke risk increases with age, a stroke can happen at any age. 

According to the most recent Florida Department of Health data, Marion County had the fourth-lowest death rate for strokes among Florida’s 67 counties. But the county’s hospitalization rate for strokes exceeds the statewide rate, and has done so for the last 14 years. Meanwhile, 6.3% of adults in Marion County have at some point been told they have had a stroke, which nearly doubles the state rate and is the sixth-highest percentage in Florida. 

“While we are fortunate that our community has a relatively low death rate from stoke, other data show that stroke is an issue we must take seriously,” said Mark Lander, administrator of the Department of Health in Marion County. “For that reason, it is critical that people are able to recognize the symptoms of a stroke, and understand stroke is medical emergency that requires immediate attention.” 

Prevention can make the difference 

Stroke is no different from any other medical condition, in that the best way to avoid it is to take steps to prevent it. 

According to, some steps you can take to prevent a stroke include: 

  • Monitoring your blood pressure
  • Controlling your cholesterol
  • Keep your blood sugar down
  • Stay active
  • Eat healthier
  • Lose weight, if necessary
  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about other preventative measures, including a regimen of regular consumption of aspirin.

Know the warning signs of a stroke 

The most important part of getting timely treatment for a stroke is to know and understand the warning signs as described by the B.E. F.A.S.T. acronym. 

B - Balance — Is the person suddenly having trouble with balance or coordination? 

E - Eyes — Is the person experiencing suddenly blurred or double vision or a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes without pain? 

F - Face — Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. 

A - Arms — Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? 

S - Speech — Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T – Time — If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, it’s time to call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately. 

To learn more about strokes and stroke prevention, please visit the American Stroke Association at, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

About the Florida Department of Health 

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit


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