Spreading Stroke Awareness at the Capitol

Last week, the American Heart Association hosted a presentation about stroke at the Texas Capitol for American Stroke Month. The event was a great way for legislative staff to learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke, why it's so important to call 9-1-1 fast and the different types of stroke and how they're treated. 


First, stroke survivor Anand Raghunathan kicked off the presentation by telling the attendees about the stroke he had after playing a game of ultimate Frisbee with friends. You may remember Anand's story from a past newsletter. Anand talked about how he didn't realize anything was wrong until he couldn't walk without help. Luckily, his friends could tell something was wrong and called 9-1-1 right away. 

Grassroots Action Team member and Seton Community CVD/Stroke Coordinator Marcie Wilson spoke next. Marcie gave a presentation about stroke and talked about the risk factors you can control (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight, alcohol and tobacco intake) and those you can't (gender, ethnicity, family history, history of heart disease or stroke). She also talked about the different types of stroke: ischemic (or clots), hemorrhagic (or bleeds), and TIA's (or mini-strokes). 


Perhaps most importantly, Marcie told attendees about F.A.S.T - it stands for Face, Arm, Speech, Time. These are some of the ways you can spot stroke signs. 

F - Face. Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven or lopsided? 
A - Arm. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? 
S - Speech difficulty. Is the speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the person able to correctly repeat the words?
T - Time. If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and say, "I thin this is a stroke" to help get the person to the hospital immediately. Time is important! Don't delay, and also note what time the first symptoms appeared. Emergency responders will want to know. 

Allison Capetillo, a member of the AHA's Quality Systems Improvement team, gave an update about how the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association works with hospitals to improve stroke care. Allison also told the attendees about different treatments for stroke including clot-removal treatments like the mechanical thrombectomy - seen below.

Rendering of mechanical thrombectomy

If you would like to hear this presentation, please join us on Friday, May 25th from noon to 12:45 PM CST for an American Stroke Month webinar. We will be joined by Allison Capetillo who will give the same presentation. You will have a chance to ask questions at the end. If you can join us, please RSVP here.

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