By: Dr. Tshombe Allen
A stroke is a disruption of blood flow to the brain. This can be caused by a blood clot that traveled or a break of a blood vessel inside the brain. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 795,000 people experience a stroke per year. Efforts to highlight the danger and the importance of identifying a stroke has caused a stroke to be referend to as a “Brain Attack” (CDC, 2021). A stroke is a medical emergency. Therefore, the ability to identify the signs of a stroke FAST can literally save a person’s life.
By using the Acronym FAST (Face, Arm, Speech, & Time) people can quickly identify signs of a stroke by looking and asking a series of questions (West, 2020).
F = Face
· Is the face drooping on one side?
· Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face not moving when they attempt to smile and causing their smile to look uneven?
A = Arm
· Ask the person to raise both arms. Is it difficult to raise one of their arms?
· If they raise both arms, does one arm drift/fall back downward?
· Ask the person does one of their arms feel weak or numb?
S = Speech
· Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase like “good morning”.
· When the person talks is their speech slurred or is difficult for them to repeat the simple phrase?
T = Time
· If your response to any of the questions above yes! CALL 911!
· Do not attempt to drive the person to ER yourself. If the person takes a turn for the worse. For instance, if they stop breathing you will not be able to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
· Depending on what part of the brain the STROKE affected the person may not be able to walk. This will make it unsafe for you to try and walk them to the car.
A stroke is a medical emergency. Therefore, do not allow the person experiencing the signs indicated above to minimize them by saying things to you such as:
· “I just need to rest”
· “I have felt this way before and it went away”
· “I probably slept on my arm and it fell asleep”
A Stroke is a life-threatening event. Strokes can leave people debilitated. Strokes can cause people to lose time from work. Some people never return to work if the stroke leaves them severely debilitated. The care required for people who are left debilitated from a stroke cost the Unites States billions of dollars annually (CDC, 2021). Swift response when you see the signs indicated above can save a person’s life. Remember think FAST.
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