It’s National Stroke Awareness Month and the Knox County Health Department wants you to be informed.

Local health officials are using the month to highlight the importance of knowing risk factors, symptoms and prevention of stroke.

A stroke happens when a blood clot or vessel rupture interrupts blood flow to the brain and then brain cells die.

Recognizing stroke warning signs and calling 911 immediately can make the difference between a recovery, long-term disability or death.

The health department stresses that time lost is brain lost.

An abbreviation to remember which describes  the most common signs of stroke:is FAST.

F-for facial drooping, A-for arm or leg drop or weakness in the limbs, S-for speech issues and T for time is of the essence; call 911 immediately

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds.

Additionally, studies show that nearly 80 percent of strokes are preventable.

The number one risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Other risk factors include tobacco use, high cholesterol, obesity and increased age.