BE FAST to Prevent Stroke Damage
A stroke is an interruption to the blood flow in the brain. Strokes can cause disability, confusion, and death, and getting appropriate, immediate treatment is key for saving lives and quality of life.
The acronym BE FAST is a simple way to recognize when a loved one starts exhibiting symptoms that while separately might not be a major health issue, but when many happen at the same time, are a major sign that that person is having a stroke. It’s important to remember than when a stroke strikes, seconds count. Without blood and oxygen, brain cells can become damaged and may die in just minutes. Each minute that it takes to get appropriate emergency care may mean months of independent activity for stroke victims.
Balance: Has the person lost their balance? Are they dizzy? Do they have a headache?
Eyes: Is vision blurry?
Face: Is one side of the face drooped or not responding?
Arms: Are any arms or legs weak, numb, or not responding?
Speech: Is it hard for the person to speak? Is what they are saying not making any sense?
Time: Time to call an ambulance immediately.
If you’re not sure if someone has suffered a stroke, call 911 anyway.
Stroke is the top cause of long-term disability and the 5th largest cause of death in the United States, but up to 80% of strokes are preventable. Many risk factors, such as age, gender, race, and family history, cannot be controlled, but others such as smoking, lack of exercise, and blood pressure can be addressed with your doctor. Find a primary care doctor to assess your risk of stroke and what lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk.