AUSTIN (KXAN) — May is Stroke Awareness Month and Central Texas doctors are warning people that they shouldn’t ignore stroke symptoms — it could be the difference between life and death.

Every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke and every four minutes, someone dies from it in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Research has shown that two million brain cells are lost within the first minute after a stroke. Every minute that passes without treatment impacts the person’s ability to recover. 

Dr. Mazin Foteh, a board-certified vascular surgeon with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons in Austin, uses a newer procedure called TransCarotid Artery Revascularization or TCAR, which can actually prevent a stroke from happening. 

Doctors say the TCAR procedure is less invasive than most surgeries starting with an incision in the neck and allows them to help stroke patients in a safe and effective way. The procedure is to prevent a stroke once doctors identify a concerning blockage in the body.