October 29th is World Stroke Day, a day to raise awareness about stroke, Hawaii’s third leading cause of death. World Stroke Day is a global campaign aimed at reducing the incidence of stroke around the world by educating communities on the facts and myths about stroke. In the United States, stroke affects nearly 800,000 people each year and is the leading cause of long-term disability.
A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is disrupted causing brain cells to die. Stroke can happen at any time and to anyone at any age. Timothy Gamble is a prime example of this he was only 25 when he had a stroke over Easter weekend. Timothy is one example of the thousands of individuals affected by stroke each year.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is working with its community partners in Hawaii to improve the professional systems of care for stroke patients, but much of that work is dependent on the public quickly recognizing stroke warning signs and immediately calling 9-1-1 to insure the stroke patient receives the most timely, appropriate care at the nearest medical center equipped to provide advanced stroke treatment. The AHA/ASA recommends that you think F.A.S.T. to spot the signs of stroke. Knowing the noticeable symptoms of stroke is important because the sooner a stroke victim gets to the hospital, the higher the chance of survival and decreases the likelihood of long-term damage.
F.A.S.T. stands for:
Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
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?
Time to call 911 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.
To learn more about the F.A.S.T. stroke warning signs and other sudden symptoms of a stroke, visit www.strokeassociation.org.