BAKERSFIELD - Experts say 795,000 Americans have a stroke every year and it’s become the nation’s third leading killer with heart disease right behind.
Every minute counts when you’re having a stroke or a heart attack, but nurses tell us with the right care it can all be prevented.
Nurse Stella Williams is giving people around the community the tools to make a change in their lives.
"Learn what you’re body is telling you, what those signs and symptoms are and kind of do screenings like we’re doing here," said Williams.
San Joaquin Community Hospital is hosting a Heart and Stroke Expo and offering the community free health screenings.
"If you take care of yourself and know what those warning signs are, our goal is to prevent heart disease. We can treat it all day long but the whole goal is to prevent it," she said.
There are two types of strokes, but nurses say both can produce symptoms of severe headache, trouble seeing and dizziness.
"There are some keys signs that you can be experiencing stroke, those being weakness to one side of the body, facial numbness or drubbing, difficulty in speech, slurred speech specifically," said Alison Elam, RN with San Joaquin Community Hospital.
Leaders with the expo say there are a large number of stroke cases in Kern County. They say heart disease is also common and it can happen to anyone. One of the youngest cases involved a person who was 20 years old.
"Diet and exercise are always important in health and a low cholesterol and low fat diet would obviously keep the cholesterol levels down when dealing with a stroke. Also, activity like exercise is a good way to keep the cholesterol down and also keep your blood sugars low," said Elam.