Every 40 seconds, someone in America has a stroke. It is the fifth-leading cause of death in the country, the leading cause of disability and one out of six people will suffer a stroke in his or her lifetime. Despite these numbers, many Americans do not think of stroke as a major health concern — and, according to the American Stroke Association, one in three Americans is unable to identify the stroke warning signs — known as F.A.S.T.
The acronym stands for:
F — Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop down?
A — Arm weakness: Ask the person to lift their arms. Does one drift downward?
S — Speech difficulty: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
T—Time to call 911: If the person has any of the above symptoms, call 911 immediately. The person could be having a stroke.
“Stroke can happen to anyone at any time re- gardless of race, sex or age,” said Dr. Maria Lomba, medical director of New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. “Yet, despite the tremendous toll stroke takes, the vast majority of Americans don’t think of stroke as a major health concern.”
Lomba and New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, along with countless other hospitals, medical institutions and health professionals in Texas and around the country, are asking community members to become “Stroke Heroes” by learning the F.A.S.T. stroke warning signs so they can recognize a stroke and act quickly.
Each May, the ASA and the American Heart Association recognize American Stroke Month by rallying the nation around the cause.