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Pioneering Rehabilitation

Act F.A.S.T. During National Stroke Awareness Month

Published May 23, 2012

In the United States, 2.6 percent of people 18 years or older suffer a stroke and in Westchester County, approximately 15 people per 1,000, or 1.5 percent, are hospitalized due to stroke. It is the fourth leading cause of death, killing more than 133,000 people annually, and is also a leading cause of serious, long-term disability.

A stroke is a brain attack when vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain is cut off. It is a medical emergency and the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and the National Stroke Association want to ensure that people know the signs of stroke and what to do when they see them.

As May is National Stroke Awareness Month, Burke is encouraging its readers to learn more about stroke now and keep an eye out for educational events throughout the year as well.

Act F.A.S.T.

One of the ways to learn how to recognize a stroke is to remember to act F.A.S.T.

F – Face: Ask the person to smile and check if the face droops.
A – Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Check if one drifts downwards.
S – Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase and see if his or her speech is slurred or strange.
T – Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

You can also download the FAST Wallet Card to keep a reminder of stroke warning signs with you at all times.

Other stroke symptoms to also be aware of include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg—especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or you see someone exhibit any of these symptoms.

The National Stroke Association also advises to note the time these symptoms were first seen as there is an FDA-approved clot-buster medication that may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke if given within three hours of the first symptom. There are also two other types of stroke treatment available that might help reduce the effects of stroke. This information is important to healthcare providers and can affect treatment decisions.

For more information about stroke and stroke rehabilitation, attend Burke’s annual Stroke Awareness Day or speak to one of Burke’s stroke experts.

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