American Stroke Awareness Month: Know the Warning Signs

Approximately 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. It is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, affecting mostly older Americans age 65 and older. It is important to know the warning signs of a stroke, so you can seek medical attention at the first sign and know when it’s time to call 9-1-1.

Warning signs of a stroke

Think FAST. These four letters can help you easily remember the signs and symptoms of stroke.

F – Face drooping
During a stroke, paralysis causes the person’s face to droop. Usually, only one side of the face is affected. It occurs when brain cells that control the nerves and muscles in your face become damaged.

A – Arm weakness
Hemiparesis is a weakness that occurs on one side of the body and affects approximately 8 out of 10 stroke survivors. Hemiparesis is the inability to move one side of the body, typically in the arms and hands, but may also occur in the legs and facial muscles.

S – Speech difficulty
Communication disorders can appear during or after a stroke. These usually come in the form of difficulty in understanding speech or producing words. People suffering a stroke may also have difficulty putting words together in a way that has meaning. 

T – Time to call 911

If someone shows any of these symptoms, whether they go away or not, it’s time to call 9-1-1. Tell the operator you think someone is suffering a stroke and then help the person get to a hospital immediately. Every moment is crucial during a stroke and the more quickly they can get medical assistance, the better chance they have of survival and recovery. Be sure to take note of the time their symptoms began; emergency responders will likely want to know.

Reduce your risk of stroke with help from the dieticians at Charles River Medical Associates. They can help you plan a heart-healthy diet to reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke. If you would like to learn more about the warning signs of stroke or to know what do to if you or someone you know suffers a stroke, contact us at 508-848-2190.