CINCINNATI, Ohio - The day started liked any other for Brad and Sara Fahrenkamp with breakfast before work with their two little boys.
But suddenly, Brad got very sick.
"He said, 'I just don't feel well. I feel kind of nauseous and flu-like. I'm just going to stay home today,'" Sara recalled.
Throughout their marriage, Brad had always been healthy. By nighttime, they knew something was very wrong.
"My left arm and part of my face were numb and tingling," Brad said. "I went to stand up to dress myself and I fell right to the floor."
"I was absolutely shocked when the physician in the ER said to us, 'Your husband has had not just one stroke, but three strokes,'" Sara said.
A stroke occurs when blood flow is blocked to the brain or blood leaks in the brain and damages cells. Symptoms occur in the parts of the body controlled by those cells.
"The quicker that you can obtain emergency services and emergency care, the quicker you can receive treatment and medication that can hopefully stop the stroke or prevent it from becoming worse," said Paige Thomas, a neurological physical therapist for the University of Cincinnati.
That's why experts say it's important to know the stroke warning signs, which include numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg; speech or vision problems; dizziness; severe headache and nausea.
Brad survived and is recovering well thanks to intensive therapy.
"Seek help as fast as possible," he said. "It's one thing that you won't regret."
Doctors with the American Stroke Association said your chances of recovery are better if you can get medical treatment within about three hours of a stroke.
While stroke can happen to anyone, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure are significant risk factors.
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