Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Despite being the third leading cause of death and the leading cause if adult disability in this country, fewer than one in five Americans can recognize a symptom of stroke. As a result, the National Stroke Association is encouraging everyone to help save a life by Acting F.A.S.T. when it comes to stroke.
- 4 out of 5 American families will be touched by stroke
- For every minute that brain cells are deprived of oxygen during stroke, the likelihood of brain damage increases
- Treatment can be more effective if given early on
- TIA (transient ischemic attack, or what some people call a mini-stroke) is a risk factor of stroke and a call to action to prevent a stroke
The good news is 80% of all strokes can be prevented. With proper attention to stroke risk factors, the impact can be greatly reduced. Common risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, pregnancy, being overweight and lack of physical activity.
The first step to take control of your health is to ask your doctor about stroke. It's never too late to lower your risk factors by making necessary lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, drinking alcohol only in moderation, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet that is low in salt and fat. Most importantly, recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke and Acting F.A.S.T. to seek lifesaving treatment can save lives.
F.A.S.T. Stands For:F=FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?A=ARM Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one drift downward?S=SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is speech slurred or strange?T=TIME If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call 9-1-1
Time is critical, so it is important to know stroke symptoms in order to seek immediate medical treatment that can save lives and reduce disabilities. Both Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital have certified stroke treatment centers, specializing in the care of stroke patients.