Because strokes are the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of severe disability, unfortunately many of us have been impacted by the suffering they cause. Thankfully, strokes are preventable and treatable. With Stroke Awareness Month happening, Hospitality Health ER hopes to educate the community on how to potentially save a life by “thinking FAST” when they see someone with possible stroke symptoms.
How Do I Recognize if Someone is Having a Stroke and What Do I Do?
Feel empowered to take action by using the acronym, FAST, which stands for the Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, and Time to call emergency services.
- Facial drooping: Is one side of the person’s face drooping? Does it seem like the person has a crooked smile? Are they saying it’s hard to move their face? If you see any of these signs, call 911 or go to the closest ER.
- Arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both of their arms. If they can’t raise both arms fully, or if one drifts downwards, seek emergency medical services right away.
- Speech difficulties: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “It’s cold today.” If they have difficulty speaking, can’t speak at all, or you’re having trouble making out what they’re saying, take immediate action.
- Time: Call 911 or go to the closest ER at at any point during this assessment even if the person just has one of the above symptoms.
Why is Stroke Awareness So Important?
When a stroke is involved, time is of the essence. Every second counts. What you do in those critical moments can potentially help save someone’s life. The quicker you act, the quicker a doctor can administer a clot-busting medication called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) which can reverse or stop symptoms from progressing. However, the patient would have to receive the treatment within 4.5 hours of the symptoms starting. Because you probably won’t know precisely when the symptoms started, you should act right away.