cardiology

For National Stroke Awareness Month – Get the Facts and Act F.A.S.T.

Published: 05/02/18

VIDALIA – At Meadows Health, we know all too well how devastating a stroke can be.

As a designated Remote Stroke Treatment Center, we work closely with Toombs-Montgomery EMS and use telemedicine to quickly identify patients that qualify for specialized stroke treatment.

That’s why as part of National Stroke Awareness Month this May, we want to make sure our patients and residents are armed with the facts and know what to do in case of a stroke.

What is a stroke?

Sometimes called a “brain attack,” a stroke occurs when blood flow is cut off to part of the brain. Without blood flowing to the brain, cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die.

Depending on where the stroke occurs and how much damage it does, a stroke can cause minor damage or weakness in limbs or can cause debilitating damage or even death.

Get the facts.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke.

Here in Georgia, the stroke death rate is 14% higher than the U.S. average and African-American men are at greater risk for stroke than any other group of men in the United States.

Despite these grim statistics, stroke can be prevented. In fact, 80% of strokes are preventable.

Recognize the symptoms and act F.A.S.T.!

The key to surviving and overcoming the effects of stroke is to learn to recognize the symptoms so you can act as quickly as possible. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for disability or brain damage.

F.A.S.T. is an easy acronym to remember that may just help you save the life of someone you know or love.

F stands for face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?        

A stands for arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S stands for speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?         

T stands for time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.        

In addition to F.A.S.T. here are some other symptoms to look for:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Steps to Prevention.

In addition to recognizing the symptoms, there are preventive measures you can take to reduce your overall risk for stroke.

  • Eat a healthy diet – A healthy diet not only can help maintain a healthy weight, it can also help maintain a healthy cholesterol and blood pressure. Here are some additional dietary tips and guidelines from the American Heart Association.
  • Move more/ get more exercise – Try to get at least 22 minutes a day, or about 150 minutes per week, of physical activity. But before you start, check with your doctor. 
  • Know your blood pressure – Since high blood pressure may not have any symptoms, the only way to know if your pressure is high is to have it checked. If it is high, you may be able to reduce it with diet and exercise, or your doctor may recommend medication.
  • Stop smoking – If you smoke, try to quit or contact Meadows Health for information on a smoking cessation program.

 

Sources:
“Preventing a Stroke.” Web. http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/preventing-stroke
“Heart and Stroke Statistics.” http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/Heart-and-Stroke-Association-Statistics_UCM_319064_SubHomePage.jsp