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American Heart Association reports Most Americans don’t know common stroke signs, but an app can help

American Heart AssociationNashville, TN – If you’re like most Americans, you don’t know the signs of stroke.

Only 8 percent of those recently surveyed in the American Stroke Association/Ad Council Stroke Awareness Continuous Tracking Study could identify each letter in F.A.S.T., an acronym of the most common stroke warning signs.

Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.

Anyone can have a stroke – each year, about 795,000 Americans have one – and everyone should be ready. Learning how to spot a stroke is just as important as teaching your family CPR or what to do in the event of a fire.

With stroke — just like a cardiac arrest or a fire — seconds count. It’s the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of severe disability.

In Tennessee, we lose 3200 Tennesseans each year to stroke. But the faster signs are recognized and the faster treatment is received, the better chance of minimizing damage.

How can you spot a stroke F.A.S.T.?

F.A.S.T. is:

  • F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S – Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T – Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Additional stroke signs include: sudden severe headache with no known cause; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; or sudden confusion or trouble understanding.

Teaching people how to recognize a stroke and respond quickly is a primary goal of the American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, sponsored nationally by Medtronic and locally by WSMV Channel 4.

Many people think of strokes as a disease of the elderly, but it can happen to anyone at any time, even very young people. When someone recognizes a stroke and quickly calls 9-1-1, the person has a greater chance of getting to an appropriate hospital quickly and being assessed for a clot-busting drug or other medical devices that may save their life and improve their chances for recovery.

The free Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. app for iOS and Android is available in English and Spanish and includes a stroke warning sign quiz, high blood pressure chart and a searchable map of hospitals recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

For more information and to download the app, visit StrokeAssociation.org.

The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association.

About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association was created in 1997 as a division of the American Heart Association.

To learn more or to get involved, call 1.888.4STROKE or visit strokeassociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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