A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or breaks and deprives the brain cells of the blood and oxygen they need to function properly. The sooner a stroke patient can receive treatment, the better their chances are for recovery. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of stroke symptoms and to call 911 immediately if you suspect that someone is having a stroke.
The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have created a simple way to remember stroke warning signs and symptoms by using the word FAST, which stands for:
F Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
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? Is the person unable to speak or 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 someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.
Stroke Prevention Strategies
While stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, many strokes can be prevented by implementing the following strategies:
- Keeping blood pressure under control
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Exercising on a regular basis
- Managing stress levels
- Stopping smoking
- Keeping diabetes under control
- Taking prescribed medicines
If you have any questions about strokes or stroke prevention, please call our stroke care team at 928-336-2442.