POUGHKEEPSIE – The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, wants stroke survivors to know that while life may be different after a stroke, rehabilitation can help you regain some independence, decrease chances of another stroke and provide new goals for you to work toward.
Worldwide, stroke is the No. 2 cause of death and is a leading cause of long-term disability. An estimated 7.2 million U.S. adults 20 and older have had a stroke. Approximately 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke every year, with about 3 in 4 being first-time strokes. Stroke is more disabling than it is fatal. Stroke is largely beatable through high-quality rehabilitation and patient support and implementation of the Association’s Rehabilitation Guidelines.
Unfortunately, up to a third of people who have a stroke do not participate in a rehab program. Stroke rehabilitation can help patients build their strength, capabilities and confidence, potentially regaining skills and returning to independent living. Rehab can also help patients better manage other conditions they have, which may affect daily living or their risk for a second stroke.
The sooner a person can be treated for stroke, the more likely they are to have a successful outcome. Bystanders can help stroke victims by knowing the ‘F.A.S.T.” signs of stroke and acting fast if they suspect a stroke.
The acronym F.A.S.T. stands for:
F-Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
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.”
T-Time to Call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital immediately. Also note the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
Education about F.A.S.T is a part of the American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, nationally sponsored by Medtronic. Together, the two organizations aim to help people to easily recognize the stroke warning signs to improve stroke outcomes.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke™ initiative, nationally sponsored by Kindred Rehabilitation Services, raises awareness that stroke is largely beatable through high-quality rehabilitation, patient support and implementation of the AHA/ASA’s Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery Guidelines. For more information, visit www.StrokeAssociation.org.
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