Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers from a stroke. This makes it a major cause of disability in America and leading cause of death.

Nearly 800,000 Americans fall victim to stroke every year, and the damage is often irreversible. Thankfully, less people are dying with the advancements of medicine and treatment, but getting the general public to understand the symptoms and realize it’s a serious emergency is still a challenge. The more people that become aware of the proper steps of identifying stroke, the better these people can be saved and suffer less. They can really come out of nowhere, which means you have to be prepared to get up and take care of the situation.

The faster someone acts and gets a stroke victim help, the better their brain’s restoration will be. 

Every second counts! That’s why remembering an acronym can help us quickly identify the early warning signs and catch a stroke in the moment better. “BE FAST” is a handy technique that highlights two additional stroke symptoms than the former “FAST” acronym that has been used. This makes it possible to identify 95 percent of acute strokes, including those that occur in the back of the brain, which is responsible for balance and eyesight.

Balance – Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination? Arms and legs may not be working right, or there’s trouble walking.

Eyes – Is their vision blurred or double? Look for persistent trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.

Face – Is one or both sides of the face drooping? Ask the person to smile.

Arms – Does one side of the person drift downward when they raise both arms? Look for weakness or numbness on one side of the body.

Speech – Does the person have slurred or garbled speech? Try to get them to repeat simple words or phrases.

Time – Call 911 to get medical attention immediately if you notice any of these signs. Remember the time the symptoms started. Quick action is key to stroke treatment!

Being informed on what a stroke exactly is helps understand how much of a serious medical emergency it is. 

A stroke is a brain injury that occurs when blood supply to the brain gets interrupted or reduced. The blood that travels to the brain provides oxygen and nutrients through the arteries. When this gets disrupted, the artery can become damaged and forms a clot that blocks that crucial blood supply. This is specifically called an ischemic stroke, and about 85 percent of all strokes in the United States are this kind. The other type of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke, which is the other 15 percent of all stroke cases. This is when blood spills into or around the brain due to blood vessels leaking or rupturing. Pressure is put onto the brain from this, and causes a loss of blood to the surrounding areas.

While there are many reasons why people have strokes, there are daily habits that you can practice in order to reduce your risk.

A lot of the time, they are caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems. You have to be careful, because a stroke can be the result of an underlying health issue, like cancer or heart disease. Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle, as well as getting your regular screenings will ensure that you can identify problems at an early stage.

Here’s a few ways you can reduce your chances of getting a stroke, as well as other cardiovascular issues:

• Maintain a healthy weight
• Stay active and exercising
• Limit your alcohol intake
• Quit smoking
• Manage stress
• Lower your cholesterol
• Control your blood pressure
• Visit your EPIC Health provider

Take a few minutes to memorize the acronym, because this small step can make a huge difference. Be prepared, be vigilant, and BE FAST to save a life!

Make your appointment at EPIC Health today!