When Stroke Strikes, Will You Be Ready?

Every year, approximately 795,000 people in the Unites States have a stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 130,000 Americans annually – that’s one out of every 20 deaths. Despite being one of the leading causes of death and the leading cause of serious long-term disability, most people cannot identify the warning signs or risk factors of a stroke.

A stroke, or a “brain attack,” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of those happens, brain cells begin to die and damage occurs. Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke, increasing risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death.

B.E. F.A.S.T., is an easy way to remember the warning signs of stroke. When you recognize the warning signs and symptoms, you will know you need to call for emergency medical help quickly.

To recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke remember the acronym: B.E. F.A.S.T.

B: Balance – sudden loss of balance and coordination

E: Eyes – sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision

F: Face drooping – face drooping on one side or numbness

A: Arm or leg weakness – numbness especially on one side of the body

S: Speech difficulty – sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech

T: Time – stroke is a medical emergency, call 911 immediately and note the time of the first symptom

When it comes to stroke, prevention is key. An individual can reduce their risk of stroke by living a healthy lifestyle — controlling high blood pressure, abstaining from smoking, being physically active, maintaining a healthy body weight, managing diabetes, drinking alcohol moderately, or not at all, and managing a low fat, low cholesterol diet.

Learn the warning signs and symptoms of stroke with B.E. F.A.S.T. and understand the importance of getting the person having a stroke to the hospital as soon as possible. When you know the signs of stroke, the life you save could be someone else’s or even your own.

Ask your physician for tips on managing your current health conditions to reduce your risk of having a stroke. Take charge of your health, so you not only know how to reduce your risk, but canrecognize the signs of stroke.

Long Beach Memorial has a leading stroke program with a care team dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of stroke.

Learn more at Memorialcare.org/LBStroke. 

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