May brings the opportunity to discuss and educate on an issue that is more common than we want it to be – stroke. Stroke is the 6th leading cause of death in Washington yet only eight percent of those recently surveyed in the American Stroke Association/Ad Council Stroke Awareness Continuous Tracking Study could identify each letter in F.A.S.T., an acronym of the most common stroke warning signs.
F.A.S.T. stands for:
- F - Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
- 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, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- T - 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 the hospital immediately.
Learn the F.A.S.T signs and share them with your friends and family. When you are done quiz each other by taking the F.A.S.T quiz!
As part of stroke awareness month we also want to recognize the many Stroke Heroes in our communities. A Stroke Hero is a survivor who overcomes a stroke; a caregiver or healthcare worker goes above and beyond to help others recover; a community member inspired to improve the health of others. This May – American Stroke Month – we invite you to honor a Stroke Hero by submitting an inspirational story for a Stroke Hero Award. Please send details and a photo by May 20, 2015. Nominees will be featured on local and national social media. For submission details visit heart.org/pugetsound.
Teaching people how to recognize a stroke and respond quickly is a primary goal of the American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, sponsored nationally by Medtronic. So let’s educate and hopefully minimize the damage stroke does in our communities.