Association Advises: Respond, Act FAST When Stroke Strikes Suddenly

STATE – On World Stroke Day, Oct. 29, the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, is urging people globally to reduce the threat of stroke in their lives and in the lives of loved ones.

(World Stroke Day public service announcement featuring actor Kevin Sorbo courtesy of the American Heart Association)

Stroke is the second-leading cause of death in the world behind heart disease and a leading cause of severe, long-term disability. In the United States, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and someone dies of a stroke every three to four minutes.

Knowing the warning signs can help people get to a hospital quickly to be assessed for a clot-busting drug, which may reduce disability or death from stroke. An easy way to recognize the sudden signs of stroke is to remember F.A.S.T:

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? Is the person unable to speak or 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 the person to the hospital immediately.

Stroke affects 795,000 Americans annually. Yet in a November 2011survey commissioned by the American Stroke Association, only 63 percent of adults could name one or more stroke warnings signs. Immediately after exposure to the F.A.S.T. acronym, 87 percent of adults could recall at least one correct sign.

“Stroke is the No. 1 preventable cause of disability,” said Mirian Medina, RN, stroke coordinator at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. “All Americans should know the stroke risks and work toward ideal cardiovascular health every day to prevent stroke.”

An important part of prevention is education, which is why on Oct. 29, World Stroke Day, the American Stroke Association and star of the TV show, “Hercules” and stroke survivor, Kevin Sorbo are asking people to post Instagram photos of themselves holding signs that complete the following thought: “Because I Care About Stroke …” Photos should be tagged #WorldStrokeDay.

To learn more about stroke, the warning signs and to participate in the World Stroke Day Instagram campaign, visit

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