July 1, 2013

Health Minute With CASI – Do you know the warning signs of a stroke?

By Michelle Migliore, RN/Administrator Jane’s Place at CASI

A stroke, or the medical term CVA (Cerebrovascular accident), affects hundreds of thousands of
people every year. The majority of these people are of the senior population, but a stroke can occur at any age. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke, so that you may seek medical attention immediately. To help you remember these signs and symptoms – use the acronym FAST.

F – Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop to one side?
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 their speech slurred or strange?
T – Time – If you observe any of these symptoms – Call 911 immediately!

NOTE THE TIME WHEN ANY SYMPTOMS FIRST APPEAR. If given within three hours of the first symptom, there is an FDA-approved clot-buster medication that may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. There are also two other types of stroke treatment available that might help reduce the effects of stroke. Learn as many stroke symptoms as possible, so you can recognize stroke as FAST as possible. Visit the website www.stroke.org to download the FAST Wallet Card to keep a reminder of stroke warning signs with you wherever you go!

Stroke symptoms include:

• SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
• SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
• SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
• SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
• SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any of these symptoms. Do not attempt to drive yourself or someone else to the ER who is experiencing these symptoms. Note the time you experienced your first symptom. This information is important to your healthcare provider and can affect treatment decisions.