By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Today is Stroke Alert Day, designed to raise awareness to the risks and warnings of this sometimes deadly, often debilitating medical event.

A nursing student at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital was offering free stroke risk assessments.

“Have you ever had a previous stroke?  Are you a smoker?  A former smoker?” she asked.

One participant, Bernadette (no last name given), was also asked if she had high blood pressure, a heart rhythm problem, diabetes, or high cholesterol.

“I’ve been feeling kind of down so I didn’t know what (to expect),” she told KYW Newsradio afterward.   And what did the screener tell her?

“She said everything looks good.”

Toby Mazer, co-founder of the Delaware Valley Stroke Council (photo), says education can save lives.

“On an average screening day we screen well over 2,000 people and pick up many people with risk factors who do not know they have risk factors,” she says.

Mazer says understanding the risks and warning signs of stroke is essential because it is the leading cause of adult disability in this country.

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