A stroke, also known as a brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. It is one of the most devastating diseases, affecting 700,000 people in the United States alone. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America and the number one cause of adult disability.
Fortunately, 80% of strokes are preventable. Thus, it is important to be able to recognize the signs that indicate a stroke has occurred because the faster a stroke is treated, the better the outcome will be.
If you suspect a stroke, remember the F.A.S.T test:
Face – test for facial weakness; ask the person to smile and examine if one side of the face droops
Arms – test for weakness in the arms; ask the person to raise both arms and examine if one arm drifts downward
Speech – test for speech problems; ask the person to repeat a simple sentence and listen to see if their words are slurred and if he/she can repeat the sentence correctly
Test – test all three symptoms; if even one of the symptoms is present, call 911 immediately
Additional Information/Follow Up
As with most conditions, the best treatment for stroke is not having one at all. Talk with your physician about your risk factors for stroke, which may include high blood pressure, heart disease, smoking, diabetes or high cholesterol. Find a Crozer-Keystone physician who’s right for you or call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258).
To learn more about strokes, visit the National Stroke Association and download the National Stroke Association’s stroke fact sheet.