Insurance and Finance

Act F.A.S.T. in Response to Stroke Symptoms

By Casey Kelly-Barton 5.16.16

It’s preventable 80 percent of the time, yet almost 130,000 Americans die every year from stroke, making it the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke is also the leading cause of serious, long-term disabilities.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. But knowledge of stroke symptoms, and how to respond, is valuable year-round to protect the health of you and your loved ones.

Think “FAST”

The American Heart Association uses the acronym “FAST” to describe common stroke signs:

F is for face drooping — or numbness on one side

A is for arm weakness — or immobility in one arm

S is for speech difficulty — slurring or trouble producing words

T is for time to call 911 — immediately when any of these symptoms appear

Relay the time of the symptoms to medical personnel. Other possible stroke-related reasons to call 911 include sudden severe headaches, trouble walking or standing, confusion, or sudden changes in vision.

Act quickly
Stroke researchers and physicians say every minute counts. Clot-busting drugs for the most common stroke is only effective within 3 to 4.5 hours after symptoms appear. The sooner treatment begins, the more likely stroke patients will recover.

Take an ambulance
Because the window for effective treatment is small, don’t try to drive to the hospital. Go by ambulance so EMTs can start treatment on the way.

If the symptoms go away
Call 911 anyway. It may have been a transient ischemic attack (TIA), caused by temporary blockages to the brain’s blood supply. About 40 percent of TIA patients will go on to have a stroke, often within a few days, so preventive treatment is essential.

Call your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent today to review your health policies before experiencing a major health event. Medical knowledge and proper coverage provide peace of mind. For more tips on healthy living, visit our blog.