For Stroke Warning Signs, Think FAST: Face, Arm, Speech – Time to Call 911
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every four minutes.
“Every second counts in the race to identify and treat stroke,” says Dr. Steven Rudolph, Director of the Jaffe Stroke Center at Maimonides Medical Center. “The sooner we can make a diagnosis and start treatment, the more we improve our chances of minimizing damage to your brain.”
Stroke can happen to anyone. It occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked or bursts. Dr. Rudolph says, “Everyone should take a few minutes to learn the warning signs of stroke so if you suspect that you or of loved one may be experiencing this medical emergency, you can help by calling 911 right away.”
The National Stroke Association offers a useful tool to help people remember stroke symptoms and respond quickly – the acronym “FAST” for Face, Arms, Speech and Time. If you suspect a stroke is occurring:
-- Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the Face droop?
-- When raising both arms, does one Arm drift downward?
-- If asked to repeat a simple sentence, is Speech slurred or unclear?
-- If the person has one or more of these signs, it’s Time to call 911 immediately.
The Jaffe Stroke Center at Maimonides provides care that is in the top tier of the nation’s stroke programs. In fact, once again, Maimonides has received the American Stroke Association’s (ASA) Get With The Guidelines®- Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award, as well as the Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus – the ASA’s highest level of recognition for excellence in stroke care. What that really means for patients is that the Jaffe Stroke Center is not only fully accredited, but contains all of the components needed to ensure diagnosis, treatment and recovery are in the experienced hands of top specialists. Dr. Rudolph works closely with physicians and nurses in emergency medicine, interventional neuroradiology, vascular and neurosurgery, neurocritical care and rehabilitation medicine to provide a full range of technologically advanced diagnostic and treatment services to all patients.
Though some of the risk factors for stroke are hereditary, others are not. This means that each one of us can reduce vulnerability to stroke by being aware of our risk factors, including medical history and personal habits. “Prevention is still our most effective weapon – some risks can be reduced by living a healthier, more active lifestyle,” says Dr. Rudolph. He advises:
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
- Eat a varied diet based on vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats and fruit.
- Keep your weight under control.
- Monitor your blood cholesterol: you should try to lower the “Lousy” kind known as LDL, and increase the “Healthy” kind known as HDL.
- Get moderate exercise on a regular basis (at least two and a half hours per week).
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Quit smoking.
- Treat circulation problems.
- Consult your doctor if you have a family history of stroke or high blood pressure to determine if you need additional assistance in prevention efforts.
If you’d like to learn more about our Stroke Program, you can call 718-283-7670 or click here.
Maimonides Medical Center is Brooklyn’s pre-eminent healthcare provider, nationally recognized for clinical excellence across all major specialties. Our physicians are known for innovation, major achievements in advancing medical science, and strengthening our teaching and research programs. With 711 beds, the Medical Center is dedicated to bringing patients the most advanced care available—anywhere. Maimonides continues to grow in response to evolving models of care that better serve patients and families, and is an affiliate of Northwell Health. To learn more, please click here.