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May is Stroke Awareness Month

stroke awareness month

Make sure you know the F.A.S.T. warning signs

In recognition of Stroke Awareness Month, REMSA is educating the community about the signs of a stroke and what to do in an emergency. Strokes are caused by the sudden loss of blood flow to the brain from a clot or a ruptured vessel, leading to bleeding inside the head. When this blood flow stops, brain cells stop functioning and begin to die. As a result, the activities of the body controlled by dying brain cells can lose their ability to function. You can learn the basic symptoms of a stroke by following the F.A.S.T. warning signs.

F.A.S.T. warning signs of a stroke are:

  • Face drooping – Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uncharacteristically uneven or do they report face numbness?
  • Arm weakness – Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm weak or numb, or does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, such as “the sky is blue.” Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand?
  • Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person you are interacting with shows any of the symptoms above, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 immediately. It’s also advised that you check the time to know when the first symptoms appeared.

“When someone suffers from a stroke, the potential for brain-cell damage increases with every moment that passes,” said Adam Heinz, Director of Clinical Communications at REMSA. “This is why it is absolutely paramount to call 9-1-1 the moment you think someone is having a stroke.”

Rapid diagnosis, rapid response and rapid treatment of strokes are especially important because the clot-busting drugs that can reverse or limit brain damage are time sensitive and typically are administered within the first 4-6 hours from symptom onset.

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