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May is Stroke Month: Act FAST!!!


Guest Blogger: Marc Watterson, Government Relations Director, Utah

FAST – can you name the warning signs or symptoms of a stroke?

If you’re like nearly one third of all Americans, the answer is no. Fortunately, the acronym FAST contains the answer:

  • Face droopiness, numbness and weakness
  • Arm numbness and weakness
  • Slurred speech or trouble speaking or understanding
  • Time to call 911 if these or other symptoms occur

Thankfully, You’re The Cure volunteers, like yourself, generally have a strong desire to get involved with their community in raising awareness for heart and stroke related issues.  Right now, volunteers from across Utah are hard at work to bring awareness of stroke signs and symptoms to their local communities!

For example, Bob Cash, Chairman of the local Board of Directors for the American Heart Association|American Stroke Association has been working with Lehi City Mayor Bert Wilson and the City Council to adopt an AHA|ASA approved Stroke Month Proclamation which will see that Lehi recognize May 2014 as American Stroke Month!

Les Chatelain, another member of our Board of Directors, has succeeded in receiving the support of Holladay City to formally proclaim May as National Stroke Awareness Month.

And Chrisi Thompson, a Stroke Program Coordinator with IHC in northern Utah, will be meeting with both Ogden City and Box Elder County next week to do the same!

In Salt Lake our local AHA|ASA staff has worked with the state and recently received the Governor’s support in declaring May 2014 as Stroke Month in Utah, encouraging all Utahns to be familiar with potential risk factors for stroke and learn the FAST signs and symptoms of a stroke.

These are just a few of the amazing activities that are going on right now, but there is still so much more that can be done! While one key to beating stroke is to avoid it by knowing the risk factors (high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, family history, etc.), another relatively unknown key to effectively treating stroke is to get to the hospital as soon as possible! This is not one of those “I’ll see if I feel better tomorrow” kind of things – time lost is brain loss! A delayed time in treatment can lead to irreparable damage to the brain and even death! That is why we encourage everyone to do their part in raising awareness of stroke warning signs and symptoms during this critical month.

Take a moment to brainstorm ideas that you can do to help promote knowledge of FAST within your family, group of friends, and neighbors. Talk to your kids about it after school, bring it up in the office and discuss it with your co-workers, or even talk to your local congregation about posting the FAST signs and symptoms on a church bulletin board.

Whatever it is that you do, let us know about it! We would love to hear all your amazing stories of raising awareness in your community – all in the hopes of saving someone’s life! Also, please let me know if you would like a copy of the Stroke Month Proclamations that cities are adopting. We would love to have you do your part so that your city or town is the next one to take action!

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