May is Stroke Awareness Month. 800,000 people suffer a stroke every year in the U.S. UT Health San Antonio wants that number to go down, and is reaching out to those at risk to help.

Atherosclerosis which is the hardening of the internal carotid artery is a major cause of a stroke. UT Health San Antonio's vascular surgery division is offering free carotid vascular screenings for people at risk.

"A stroke is any sudden deterioration in ones in neurological status. The cause could be a sudden blockage in the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain," Dr. Raghav Aachi, a vascular neurology fellow UT Health San Antonio said.

Who is most at risk for a stroke?

Dr. Aachi said, "Patients who have uncontrolled risk factors like hypertension or diabetes or high cholesterol. Patients who were chronic smokers. Someone who has a history of illicit drug use like cocaine. Someone who is a chronic alcoholic."

UT Health San Antonio wants you to know the signs of a stroke by remembering FAST.

F- facial weakness

A- arm or leg weakness

S- speech that changes or becomes slurred or difficult

T- time

Dr. Aachi said, "Time is brain so the faster you identify these symptoms and the faster you ask for help or call 9-1-1 which is what we usually prefer versus you driving yourself to the hospital."

"To complete a telephone questionnaire which will determine your eligibility for the free screening, call 210-450-9888.