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The warning signs of a stroke

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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Illinois' Senator Mark Kirk (R), suffered a stroke over the weekend. And he is currently recovering at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Senator Kirk's stroke is one that the staff at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale's Stroke Center seen numerous times.

"Senator Kirk had an inclusion in his right carotid artery which feeds the right hemisphere of the brain," said Lesley Cranick at The Stroke Center. "This will cause a left-sided sensory and motor loss."

Cranick says in order for someone to survive a stroke they must act fast.

"F-is for facial drop, A-is for arm drift. If you hold your arms out one will drift down, you have to have your eyes closed for that. S is for slurred speech. And T is for time. Time is not a symptom. But it is extremely important that you tell your healthcare provider what time your symptoms started," said Cranick.

She also says there is a time window for a stroke victim to get to help.

"There's a three hour time frame in which we can start the clot-busting medication called activase from the time the symptoms start."

And Cranick says Senator Kirk's age of 52, had little to do with him suffering a stroke.

"Strokes are not age specific, we typically think of stroke in the elderly, strokes can happen in children."

But, there are things that you can do to possibly prevent a stroke.

"There are some risk factors that are modifiable. They are high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity," said Cranick.

Senator Kirk underwent surgery on Monday morning to remove part of the right side of his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain from the stroke. And his doctor does expect the senator to recover from the stroke.

But, it is too early to say what effect the stroke will have on Senator Kirk in the long run.

Senator Mark Kirk was elected in 2010 to the seat formerly held by President Barack Obama.

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