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B.E. F.A.S.T. for stroke: Why it’s important to act quickly

B.E. F.A.S.T. for stroke: Why it’s important to act quickly

Did you know that stroke is a leading cause of death and disability among Americans? Take a few minutes during American Stroke Month this May to learn how and when to B.E. F.A.S.T. for stroke.

Receiving medical treatment quickly after a stroke occurs can be lifesaving and limit the amount of damage done to the brain. West Jefferson Medical Center holds a prestigious accreditation by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Here, our team shares the details about stroke below.

The facts about stroke

With two main types, strokes impact the brain in different ways. Ischemic strokes occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain, depriving brain tissue of essential oxygen and nutrients. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, flooding the brain with blood.

Regardless of the type of stroke, fast action is essential. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the more the brain can be damaged. Prompt treatment can limit the damage done to the brain, lessening the impact on the body.

The signs of a stroke you should know

Every person should know the symptoms of stroke, but it can also be challenging to remember when an emergency occurs.

Memorizing the B.E. F.A.S.T. acronym can help you remember the signs of stroke and what to do:

  • Balance. Have the person walk a short distance, looking for signs that his or her balance or coordination are off kilter.
  • Eyes. Ask whether the person is experiencing vision changes, such as double vision.
  • Face. Ask the person to smile and look for face drooping, particularly on one side.
  • Arms. Have the person raise both arms, looking for signs of weakness or drooping in one arm.
  • Speech. Have the person repeat a short phrase to determine whether he or she has trouble speaking or confusion.
  • Time. If someone is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it’s time to call 911.

Other symptoms of stroke can include sudden numbness on one side of the body, a sudden severe headache and sudden dizziness. Note that each of those symptoms includes the word sudden. The sudden onset of symptoms is often a sign of an emergency.

What you can do to prevent a stroke

Believe it or not, you’re in control of your risk for stroke. While you can’t fully prevent all strokes, most strokes are caused by a controllable risk factor, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking

Stroke prevention starts with taking a close look at your habits. Lower your risk of stroke by exercising regularly, eating a diet low in saturated fat and sodium, and not smoking.

Making changes to your diet and moving your body more often can help you get to and maintain a healthy weight. Those two steps can also help you lower your blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, work with your primary care provider to get your blood pressure into a healthier range through lifestyle changes and medication, if needed.

By taking action to lower your risk and learning the signs of stroke, you’re doing your best to protect your health and your loved ones’ health. That’s a stroke of genius if you ask us!

Recovering after a stroke is a complex process. Trust the Stroke Specialty Rehabilitation Program at West Jefferson Medical Center for personalized, comprehensive care.