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When it comes to a stroke it is best to act FAST!

When it comes to a stroke it is best to act FAST!

When a stroke comes, it comes on fast. In the span of just one hour a stroke has the power to completely change a life. It is no overstatement to say that every minute counts. May is National Stroke Month, and learning the signs of a stroke can save a life. Fortunately, the National Stroke Association has coined the acronym “FAST” to help people recognize the symptoms of an oncoming stroke quickly and easily:

F – Face: Face drooping is typically a key symptom of an oncoming stroke. In most cases, facial droop is unilateral, appearing as if one side of the victim’s face is being pulled down. A person having a stroke typically has a crooked smile, difficulty opening and closing the eyes and forehead wrinkling.

A – Arms: Arm numbness or weakness coupled with a tingling sensation is often a warning sign. Typically, one arm drifts downward. To check for a stroke, ask the person to raise their arms. If they’re unable, and experience other stroke symptoms, they may be having a stroke.

S – Speech: Speech slurring is usually the next indicator of a stroke. This is due to dysarthria, meaning the muscles controlling the mouth are weakened or paralyzed. Slurred speech can be immediate or develop as the stroke continues. It is also possible for speech slurring to be a permanent side effect of a stroke.

T – Time: The ability to react quickly when you recognize a stroke is what can make the difference between life or death. After a stroke, doctors advise calling 911 rather than driving to the hospital because, in most cases, no one having a stroke is in the right state to drive. While waiting for an ambulance, the person experiencing the stroke should lie down while those around keep watch to make sure that the person’s airway remains open and the victim remains conscious.

In addition to these warning signs, you should be on the lookout for fainting, weakness, vision trouble and confusion which can accompany the FAST symptoms. Though symptoms may differ from person to person depending on the severity of the stroke, the effects of a stroke can be permanent; more than two-thirds of stroke survivors are left disabled in some way.

This Stroke Awareness Month, learn to spot a stroke FAST because the faster you act, the better the chances for recovery.

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