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Strokes – Act FAST

When you suspect someone is having a stroke time is the most important thing to consider.  The longer the area of the brain is without blood flow the greater the risk of permanent damage.  Recovery from a stroke is a lifelong process because once brain cells die they do not regenerate.  The level and type of disability caused by a stroke depends on the part of brain affected as well as the amount of damage that was done.  Many individuals lose partial use of a limb, elements of speech, or portions of their memories following a stroke.  Months or years of therapies are often needed to help individuals adapt to these disabilities.

Doctor must treat diagnose and treat strokes rapidly to reduce the impact of the stroke and save lives.  Medications can be used to treat strokes but have a specific window (3 hours from onset of symptoms) and are only given under certain conditions.  Alteplase IV r-tPA is common in ischemic strokes as well as surgery to remove clots and repair burst vessels.


Signs of a Stroke and What to Do:  F.A.S.T.

Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?  Test – ask the person to smile at you.

Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Test – Raise both arms of the person straight out in front with their eyes closed.  Ask them to keep arms raise and let go gently.  Does one arm drift down or fall downward?

Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand?  Test – As the person to repeat a simple sentence like “The sky is blue”.  Can they repeat it correctly?

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 a hospital immediately.  Try to know when the person was last seen at their normal self.

Additional stroke signs include: sudden severe headache with no known cause; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; or sudden confusion or trouble understanding.

(AHA Stroke Instructions)

Remember to ACT FAST if a stroke is suspected.  The time you save can mean the difference between minor and severe disabilities or possibly save a life.  For more information on stroke awareness visit the links provided above.  If you suspect you or someone you know may be at risk for a stroke talk to your doctor for ways to minimize that risk.


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