>>Think FAST When You See Signs of Stroke

Think FAST When You See Signs of Stroke

When we think about heart disease, the common concerns are prevention of the disease by maintaining heart health through wellness, exercise and healthy eating. A health risk related to heart disease and equally worthy of attention is stroke, which can have a devastating impact on a person’s health. A healthy diet and wellness routine can keep strokes at bay, but when a stroke happens it is key to be diagnosed and treated quickly to keep damage to a minimum.

The universal motto for stroke is to “act FAST.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines FAST as:

F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?

T—Time: If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away.

Stroke symptoms come on suddenly. A person might experience one or more of these symptoms at once:

1) Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs.

2) Sudden confusion or difficulty speaking.

3) Sudden vision changes.

4) Sudden trouble walking or lack of coordination.

5) Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

“A diagnosis of stroke can be complicated, that is why it is best to come into the ED even if you are just a little bit concerned,” stated Dr. Margaret Loewen, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Prowers Medical Center.

What’s incredibly reassuring for Lamar area residents is that Prowers Medical Center has a very sophisticated, well organized stroke process, complete with fast access to stroke neurologists via the stroke robot, and speedy access to radiologists to read CT scans of the brain. For patients, this means quick treatment to stop the stroke and stop the damage.

“Through UC Health, we have 24/7 access to a stroke neurologist who can evaluate the patient via our stroke robot—a telemedicine video tool where the neurologist along with the ED physician examines the patient at the bedside,” said Leslie Day, R.N., Emergency Services Manager.

If you suspect stroke, act immediately by calling 911. Even if you or your loved one experiences symptoms for just a few minutes that go away, you need to be seen by a physician to rule out a “mini-stroke” or TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack). Untreated TIA’s can be predictive of stroke.

“Our stroke program is a marvelous service to our community, and we are here to help,” concluded Dr. Loewen. For more information on stroke or symptoms of stroke go to: cdc.gov/stroke.


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