Spot Stroke Symptoms FAST With These Guidelines

Did you know that stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US?

One out of every twenty deaths is caused by stroke.

A stroke occurs every forty seconds in the US and takes a life every four minutes, according to the CDC.

So, what we can do about it?

This May, in recognition of Stroke Awareness Month, St. Thomas Medical Group is encouraging Nashvillians to learn about three common stroke symptoms.

Recognizing these symptoms in a stroke victim – and quickly seeking emergency care – can potentially save a stroke victim’s life. When it comes to stroke, every second counts.

What Is A Stroke?

There are a few different types of strokes. Ischemic and hemorrhagic are two common types. In an ischemic stroke, an artery becomes blocked, reducing blood flow to the brain. In a hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel may leak or burst, creating swelling or pressure around the brain.

Strokes can cause significant and permanent brain damage in survivors. However, seeking emergency care as quickly as possible can minimize damage and improve the chances of recovery. The treatment window can be quite narrow…

  • Three-hour window: Patients suffering ischemic stroke, for example, may receive a drug known as Alteplase IV r-tPA; this drug must be administered within three hours of stroke onset. In some cases, a patient may be eligible within a 4.5-hour window.
  • Six-hour window: Another option for stroke treatment is thrombectomy. This is a minimally-invasive procedure in which a surgeon removes the blood clot causing the stroke. This procedure should be done within six hours of the onset of symptoms. In some cases, the procedure may be done within a 24-hour window (Source: Stroke Association).

The Three Symptoms – FAST

Because stroke treatment windows are so narrow, it’s critical that everyone knows how to recognize stroke symptoms. Use the FAST acronym to help yourself remember the most common symptoms of a stroke:

  • F – Face: Is the affected person able to smile? It’s common for one side of the face to droop in a stroke victim.
  • A – Arms: Can the affected person raise both arms? Many stroke victims will have one arm drift downward.
  • S – Speech: Is their speech clear and normal, or slurred? Ask them to repeat a simple phrase.
  • T – Time: If you observe any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Stroke Prevention Tips

There are many things you may be able to do to reduce your risk for stroke. The Stroke Association recommends:

  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep per day.
  • Be socially active.
  • Eat a healthy diet, limiting sodium to 1500mg per day.
  • Exercise 30 minutes per day.
  • Get regular checkups with your local doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group!
  • If you smoke, stop smoking.

Take Action Now With a Primary Care Provider in Nashville

Did you know that 80% of strokes in adults are preventable? Unfortunately, having just one stroke significantly increases the likelihood of having another one. That’s why it’s important to partner with a primary care provider in taking the right health measures today. Live in the Nashville area? Call St. Thomas Medical Group Department of Children and Adults at +1 (615) 301-7040

You can also make an appointment online.