ENGLEWOOD, N.J. – In recognition of World Stroke Day on Oct. 29, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association urges those who care for others to learn the stroke warning signs, since bystanders often need to act fast in an emergency.
One in six people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime. In the United States, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds. The American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, nationally sponsored by Covidien, a global healthcare product company, teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. to remember stroke warning signs:
- F - Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
- A - Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S - Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- T - Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
Other than a prior stroke, major stroke risk factors include:
- High blood pressure – It’s the most important controllable risk factor for stroke. About 77 percent of people who have a first stroke have blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg.
- Smoking – Current smokers have two to four times the stroke risk of nonsmokers or those who quit more than 10 years ago.
For more information about stroke, see the Stroke Association’s website .
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