May is Stroke Awareness Month!
A stroke is a "brain attack" and it can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as memory and muscle control, are lost.
How a person is affected by a stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. For example, someone who has a small stroke may only have minor problems, such as temporary weakness of an arm or leg. People who have larger strokes may be permanently paralyzed on one side of their body or lose their ability to speak. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than two-thirds of survivors will have some type of disability.
FAST is an easy way to remember and identify the most common symptoms of a stroke. Recognition of stroke symptoms and calling 9-1-1 will determine how quickly someone receives help and treatment. Getting to a hospital quickly will more likely lead to a better recovery.
FAST stands for:
FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
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