Broward College Expert Offers Signs for Identifying Strokes
Strokes are the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. Each year, approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke. During Stroke Awareness Month this May, Broward College’s Associate Dean of Nursing, Catherine Johnson, is offering some signs to help you “BE FAST” in detecting the symptoms of a stroke:
B – Balance: A sudden loss of balance or coordination, such as not being able to walk a straight line or touch a finger to the nose.
E – Eyes: Sudden vision changes, such as double vision or blindness in one eye. Up to two thirds of people experience changes in their vision during a stroke.
F – Face Drooping: This is the most recognized sign of a stroke. Droopiness or numbness on one side of the face, such as an uneven smile, as common indicators.
A – Arm Weakness: Extend the victim’s arms (palms up) for 10 seconds. Look for signs of one arm drifting downward.
S – Speech Difficulty: One test: Ask the victim to repeat the phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” If slurred words, using the wrong words, or inability to speak occur, there’s a 72 percent chance they’ve have had a stroke.
T – Time to Call 911: If any of the above symptoms are present, it is important to call emergency responders or go to the ER right away, even if symptoms seem to disappear.
Be sure to record the time when symptoms started. During a stroke, the brain is not getting the blood that it needs. The sooner a victim receives help, the less likely they’ll have serious, lasting problems. Ask your doctor or nurse which hospitals in your area are comprehensive or primary stroke centers, with 24-hour emergency care. For more information on stroke centers in South Florida, visit http://www.stroke.org/emergency-stroke-center-locations.