May is stroke awareness month

Stephen Schneider was 30 when he had a stroke.
Stephen Schneider was 30 when he had a stroke.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Stephen Schneider, 31, doesn't look old enough to be a stroke survivor, but he is. Last year he had Army Reserve training and decided to run alongside a soldier he was helping to test.

"I noticed I couldn't talk. My speech was real slurred," he said. "And then the next thing I knew I was on the bleachers. My ACU jacket was off. My boots were off."

His face was drooping on one side, and he couldn't move the left side of his body.

Schneider was soon on his way to the hospital.

Patients who have had a stroke are taken to the trauma room at Huntsville Hospital.

Dr. Amit Arora is a neurologist who specializes in strokes.

"Time is brain. The faster we can get treatment, the more brain we can salvage," he said.

That message is extremely important when trying to fight the after effects of a stroke.

"As people come in sooner to the emergency room, we have more treatment available to them. Our biggest goal for the next several years is to have a higher community awareness," said Arora.

He said one way to raise awareness is to educate the public about stroke symptoms.

"The major stroke symptoms that we tell patients to recognize include facial weakness, arm weakness, or speech difficulty. Usually the face and arm weakness is on one side and it's rather sudden on the onset," he said.

Arora said this is no longer something associated with the aging population. Schneider was only 30 when he had his stroke.

"I couldn't believe it. You know, I'm young in pretty good shape - not the best shape. There is no history. I run all the time. For something like this to happen, it makes you open your eyes a little bit," Schneider said.

Arora said strokes know no boundaries.

"Anybody can have a stroke. We're finding that patients are getting younger and younger," he said.

With better medicines, procedures, and people knowing how and when to act, the odds for the patient's survival get better.

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