During National Stroke Awareness Month, the National Stroke Association is urging the public to look at their stroke risk factors, and pledge to make at least one change to reduce their stroke risk.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Stroke can happen at any age — at any time – it has no limits. Experts say to be aware of signs and symptoms and act fast if they ever do happen. The acronym BE FAST can help.
Watch for Balance or Eye (vision changes). Does one side of the Face droop? Does one Arm drift downward when raising both arms? Is Speech slurred? If you observe any of these signs, it’s Time to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Quickly recognizing the symptoms and getting medical intervention makes a big difference. If you can get the victim to an Emergency Room within three hours, they can administer clot-busting drugs and take other steps to stop the damage caused by stroke.
Sheila Long, Stroke Coordinator RCRH, says, “When the ambulance picks you up they start care as soon as they arrive. They will get there blood pressure and blood sugar and start that IV and all of those steps helps us move quicker to the process of treatment in the hospital, which the treatment mostly is giving you the clot buster medication to break up a clot that may be causing a stroke.”
The goal is to stop damage to the brain—as we lose 1.9 million brain cells per minute when the brain is without oxygen. The after math can cause long term effects to mobility and speech.
While there is no prevention for a stroke – the best you can do is watch risk factors.
“Monitoring and controlling your blood pressure, your cholesterol — make sure you’re eating healthy — don’t use tobacco, managing your diabetes and exercising routinely can help with that and then maintaining your weight, ” says Long.
Dixie Doyle a former nurse and Stroke Survivor has some remaining effects of her stoke that happened eight years ago. She was lucky enough to be in a physical therapy session when her symptoms came on — unaware of what was happening – the therapists knew she was suffering a stroke. Now she encourages stroke awareness for everyone, saying “I’m a nurse and I did not take the signs seriously — just knowledge I guess, be aware and act fast.”
Dixie also mentioned that a stroke support group also helped her with recovery.