Every year 800,000 Americans suffer from a stroke, which occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of oxygen to the brain or body. It can result in loss of speech, movement, memory, or, in some cases, death. The key to minimizing the effects is to act fast and get victims to a health care facility as soon as possible. The team at Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY, explains that you can use the acronym F-A-S-T to better recognize the telltale signs of the condition.
A Guide to “F-A-S-T” Stroke Awareness
1. Face Drooping
Numbness or drooping of one side of the face is a possible indicator of stroke. Facial paralysis results from lack of blood flow to the brain, which damages the nerves that control those muscles. Ask the person to smile — if they can’t, or the smile is unusually asymmetrical, they may be having a stroke.
2. Arm Weakness
Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body’s extremities is also an early indicator of stroke. Ask the person to lift both arms to shoulder level and their knees one-at-a-time to a 90-degree angle. If one arm hangs limply at their side, or they are unable to raise both knees, contact emergency personnel.
3. Speech Difficulty
Another stroke symptom is loss of tongue control and difficulty speaking. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech abnormal or slurred? If their attempt is labored or they can’t respond at all, take them to the nearest health care facility.
4. Time to Call 911
If you notice face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty, it’s time to call 911. The sooner a stroke victim gets help, the better the chance of minimizing damage. To the best of your ability, record the time you first observed a symptom. This information helps medical professionals choose the best treatment approach.
During a stroke, every minute counts. If you recognize the symptoms, act fast and get victims to a health care facility. The medical professionals at Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Forest Hill, NY, have extensive emergency response experience for stroke care and other life-threatening conditions. Call (718) 275-8900 to schedule an appointment for a check-up with a physician today. You can also follow the treatment center on Twitter for regular health news and tips.