Act F.A.S.T. this May

Would you be able to recognize a stroke if was happening to you or someone around you?  Unfortunately, too many people miss the signs of stroke and go without medical attention for hours—sometimes days—after suffering a stroke.  That’s why the American Heart Association is urging everyone to learn the warning signs of stroke during May, American Stroke Awareness Month.

On average, every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke and every four minutes, someone dies of a stroke. Together To End Stroke, nationally sponsored by Covidien, is the American Stroke Association’s national initiative to bring awareness that stroke largely preventable, treatable and beatable. Stressing the importance of reducing risk while knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, the Association is determined to reach their goal of building healthier lives by reducing disability and death from stroke by 20 percent by 2020.

When it comes to knowing the stroke warning signs, only about two out of three Americans can correctly identify at least one sign. Together to End Stroke is helping Americans more easily recognize the stroke warning signs that come on suddenly through a quick and easy acronym called, F.A.S.T.

F.A.S.T. is a simple way to remember some of the warning signs of a stroke and the importance of getting medical help immediately.

  • F-Face Drooping
  • A-Arm Weakness
  • S-Speech Difficulty
  • T-Time to Call 9-1-1

“Stroke is a scary issue, no doubt about it,” notes Nicole Keefe, RN, Stroke and Trauma Program Manager at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. “But stroke doesn’t have to mean death or disability.  The quicker a stroke is recognized and the quicker the stroke victim receives medical attention, the less like there is the chance for long term damage. It is so important to call 9-1-1 as soon as humanly possible.”

Although stroke is our nation’s No. 4 leading cause of death and leading cause of long term disability, research suggests that nearly 80% of strokes may be prevented if certain risk factors are controlled, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and physical inactivity.

“The best thing you can do for yourself is to live a healthy lifestyle,” continues Keefe. “Eating healthy, exercising and getting regular check-ups with your doctors won’t only make you feel better in the here and now, but it could save your life in the future.”

The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association offers My Life Check–a free online health assessment that can help you start the conversation about your personal risk for heart disease and stroke.  To learn more visit www.mylifecheck.org.

For more information about stroke, warning signs or healthy lifestyle, call the American Stroke Association at 1-888-4STROKE or visit www.strokeassociation.org.

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