According to the National Stroke Association, a stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off, causing brain cells to be deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain, like muscle control and memory, are lost.
Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the United States today. If someone around you had a stroke, would you be able to spot the signs and act?In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, stop and take a moment to make sure you understand the warning signs of stroke:
The acronym FAST stands for the warning signs of stroke: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and if you witness or experience any of these symptoms, it’s Time to call 911 immediately.
- Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or have numbness? Ask the person to smile. Is their smile uneven?
- 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? Is the person unable to speak or difficult to understand? Ask the person to say a simple sentence, such as “The sky is blue.”
- Time to Call 911: If someone shows any of these symptoms, call 911 and get to a hospital immediately, even if the symptoms go away. Make sure to be aware of the time so you can tell medical professionals when the symptoms began.
Other symptoms of a stroke include sudden severe headache, sudden dizziness or trouble walking, sudden trouble seeing, sudden confusion and sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body. Call 911 if you witness or experience any of these, even if you’re not sure it’s stroke-related. Waiting could be fatal.
Over 120,000 people die of stroke annually. Spotting the signs and acting quickly can help prevent future deaths.