How to spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.

How to Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.

With stroke being the No. 5 cause of death in the U.S. and No. 4 in NJ alone, there is no better time than now to learn the warning signs.  Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain, that occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptured.  When this happens, it causes brain cells to die due to the lack of blood and oxygen flowing to the brain.  In fact, about 2 million brains cells die per minute, during a stroke emergency.  This shows how valuable time is when spotting a stroke because, “time lost is brain lost.”

The bright side?  About 80 percent of strokes are preventable.  Although some risk factors are out of your control, like your family history, other factors, such as managing your diet and increasing your physical activity are great ways to increase your overall mental and physical health.  One of the most important ways to prevent your stroke is to control your blood pressure.  High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading cause of stroke and the most significant risk factor.  Be sure to know your numbers and keep them in a healthy range.

Know the Signs of a Stroke

Recognizing a stroke emergency is key to getting life-saving medical attention–every minute matters. Knowing the acronym F.A.S.T. to remember the most common signs of stroke can help save a life or prevent long-term disability.

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.”

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 to a hospital immediately. (Tip: Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.)

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