Did you know that stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and the leading preventable cause of disability in the US? Each year, about 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke—that’s about one stroke every 40 seconds. That is an astounding number, honestly. If you have never known someone that has had a stroke, or someone in the healthcare industry, you probably had no idea.
It is easy to become emotional when thinking about something like that happening to a friend or loved one. Those people that we hold dearest to our hearts, we never want to see anything bad happen to them. Especially something that could leave them with physical challenges that commonly occur after stroke such as paralysis, seizures, muscle tightness and stiffness (spasticity), fatigue and more.
Believe me when I say, the challenges after a stroke are not something that are easily overcome. It is not something that you can fix in a day, in a month, or even in a year. Sometimes the effects of a stroke can and will last a lifetime. And while it is difficult on us, just imagine what the person who has had a stroke has to endure. Now, imagine if you were more educated about the signs of a stroke and you were able to do more to prevent your loved one from having to go through something like that. While not every stroke can be prevented, knowing the warning signs and taking action F.A.S.T. can mean a great deal.
That is why it is SO important to educate people about the signs of a stroke. Everyone should be aware that stroke threatens millions of American lives, young and old, male and female, from every background. At the same time, stroke is largely preventable, treatable and beatable.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.
I am reaching out to my readers in hopes to raise awareness F.A.S.T—an acronym used to recognize a stroke and what to do in a stroke emergency.
- F – Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
- A – Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S – Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like: “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- T- Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
Despite the tremendous toll stroke takes, the vast majority of Americans do not think of stroke as a major health concern. And one in three Americans is unable to identify all the F.A.S.T. stroke warning signs. This is a significant problem. As I said before, what if we could prevent a stroke from happening just by being a little more educated?
When you recognize a stroke and immediately call 9-1-1, the person has a greater chance of getting to an appropriate hospital quickly and being assessed for treatment options like a clot-busting drug and other medical devices. But many people do not know the warning signs of a stroke. It is our hope that we will reach our readers and share this knowledge in order to help save a life.
Please join me in spreading the word to your friends, family and co-workers. The the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and the Ad Council are working hard to make sure that more people are educated about the signs of a stroke. The more knowledgeable we are, the more likely we are to prevent a stroke from happening to ourselves or a loved one.
Download the F.A.S.T. app for your smartphone at www.StrokeAssociation.org/warningsigns
Share your new knowledge on Social Media!
- If you think it’s a stroke, you don’t have a minute to waste. Every minute you delay treatment could mean a longer road to recovery. http://bit.ly/1cCOrIm #StrokeMonth
- Googling “stroke symptoms” could cost you precious time in an emergency. Commit the warning signs to memory, download our free app and gain a better recovery. http://bit.ly/10J7I2m #StrokeMonth
- When you recognize a stroke and call 9-1-1 right away, you may increase a person’s odds of not just surviving, but thriving after a stroke. Julie’s living proof of that: http://bit.ly/1omi9GQ #StrokeMonth
- When you recognize a stroke and call 9-1-1 right away, you are a hero. Julie’s living proof: http://bit.ly/1omi9GQ #StrokeMonth
- 795000 Americans have a stroke every year. Learn F.A.S.T. for them – Face Arm Speech Time: http://bit.ly/10J7I2m #StrokeMonth
- Could you spot a stroke F.A.S.T.?@American_Stroke and @AdCouncil have an app for that! http://bit.ly/10J7I2m #StrokeMonth