Spot the signs of stroke FAST

May 18, 2017
Be Fast Graphic

According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, more than 140,000 Americans die of a stroke annually, and it is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds.

But did you know that 80 percent of strokes are preventable?

While a stroke can happen to anyone, studies show that many strokes can be avoided by working with your doctor to manage your medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes. You can also reduce your stroke risk by making these healthy lifestyle choices:

  • Keep your blood pressure under control as it is the most important controllable risk factor for stroke. High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the brain, increasing the chances of strokes from clots or ruptures.
  • Eat a healthy, low sodium diet − choose a diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be active.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Limit alcohol use.

Stroke is largely treatable

The faster stroke is treated, the more likely the patient is to recover. Stroke patients who are treated with the clot-busting drug (tPA) within 90 minutes of their first symptoms are almost three times more likely to recover with little or no disability. So, when it comes to spotting stroke and getting help, the faster, the better. Symptoms of stroke can be difficult to recognize because they vary depending on the particular area of the brain that is affected.

Use the following FASt acronym to help you spot a stroke in yourself or someone else and facilitate immediate medical intervention:

  • Face: Look for an uneven smile.
  • Arm: Check if one arm is weak.
  • Speech: Listen for slurred speech.
  • Time: Call 911 at the fist sign.