RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — Every 40 seconds someone in America has a stroke according to the CDC. 

During this National Stroke Awareness Month, a state official is raising awareness after experiencing a minor stroke himself.  

“You may have a blockage of a vessel of your brain. Once the blockage happens, you start losing neurons, which are brain cells, and as time goes by, you’ll start losing more and more neurons,” said Dr. Katyucia De Macedo Rodrigues, neuro interventionalist at Cone Health. 

For North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, that was the case for him this week as he took to Twitter after undergoing surgery for a minor stroke. 

“I’m so grateful my wife knew the signs,” Stein said. 

So, what are those signs? 

“The most common way is that you’ll feel a weakness in your arms and legs, and you could feel like numbness in your body. It can present as impaired speech,” said Dr. De Macedo Rodrigues. That can also include impaired vision and loss of balance. 

When someone is showing symptoms, here’s how to remember with the simple acronym F.A.S.T.  

“Facial drooping. A is arm weakness, one side or the other. S is speech difficulty, either loss of speech, stuttering of speech or slurring of speech, not able to get the words out. T signifies time of onset. Also, notifying time to call 911,” said Dr. Sowmya Lakshminarayanan from Novant Health. 

Next, it’s helpful to know their family health history so you can pass it along to paramedics or doctors to quickly identify the stroke. Because every second matters.  

“Depending on where it clogs, it can be one major blood clot blocking one major vessel or it can just spew small amounts of small blood clots all over the brain,” Lakshminarayanan said. 

As for how to prevent one is to live a healthy lifestyle. Things like working out, eating healthy and going to a primary care physician regularly can significantly decrease chances for stroke. 

Preexisting conditions can play a factor in causing strokes.