May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a time to educate the public and spread awareness about stroke prevention, symptom recognition and recovery. In recent years in the U.S., stroke deaths have declined by 10,000. This year, the National Stroke Association and Northeast Georgia Medical Center hope to continue to reduce stroke deaths and disability by educating the public to recognize stroke symptoms, and to Act F.A.S.T. to save a life.
F = FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = ARM Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T = TIME If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 9-1-1.
Many strokes can be treated. The FDA-approved treatment for ischemic (clot-caused) stroke is t-PA, a clot-busting drug that dissolves the blood clot and restores blood flow to the brain. For the drug to work effectively, t-PA must be given within three hours of the first sign of stroke symptoms. Acting F.A.S.T. is important because:
- For every minute that brain cells are deprived of oxygen during stroke, the likelihood of brain damage increases.
- Treatment can be more effective if given early on.
- TIA (transient ischemic attack) is a risk factor of stroke and a call to action to prevent a stroke.
For more information about stroke symptoms, risk factors and prevention, visit www.stroke.org.
About Stroke Care at Northeast Georgia Medical Center
Northeast Georgia Medical Center offers a comprehensive approach to stroke care, from early intervention treatments in the Emergency Room to inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services to help patients regain function and independence. In 2004, NGMC’s stroke care program was recognized by the American Stroke Association (ASA) as a best practice. In addition, NGMC’s inpatient rehabilitation unit was one of the first 20 in the nation to receive Stroke Specialty Certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).