From Frank ... Do you know the signs of stroke?
My Village friends, this week I ask you to fully read this column and ensure you are educated on CVA – or stroke. The urgency and importance of stroke awareness hit home recently when my mom – who lives with me as many of you know - suffered an ischemic stroke.
We were fortunate that it happened during the day and the symptoms where immediately recognized and treated at the hospital within an hour. It was scary, but the clinicians were amazing and quick acting.
A stroke – or CVA - is a brain attack. It is an interruption in the flow of blood to the brain. And when your brain cells are deprived of oxygen, they die. Many things can cause a stroke, but its all related to blood not getting where its needed - a blockage in an artery prevents blood from reaching cells in the brain or an artery rupture inside or outside the brain, causing a hemorrhage. Please - read more about strokes by the CDC here or view a video from the Mayo Clinic here explaining both types of strokes.
My message to you though is this: learn the signs. It’s critical that you can recognize the signs so that treatment can begin immediately. This made a huge difference for my mom. An acronym to help remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke is FAST:
Face - Does one side of the face droop or look uneven? Ask them to smile.
Arm - Is one arm or leg weak or numb and drift down? Ask them to raise both arms.
Speech - Is speech slurred or unrecognizable? Ask them to repeat a phrase.
Time - Call 911 or go to a hospital immediately.
If you have a smartphone, there is a free app from the Stroke Awareness Foundation that you can use to identify symptoms, call 911, and also text your emergency contacts at the push of a button.
Most importantly, if you, or a loved one, is experiencing the signs and symptoms of a stroke please seek treatment immediately. It’s an emergency. Call 9-1-1 because fast treatment can lessen the brain damage that a stroke can cause.
If you’re interested in learning more, here are the websites of our closest area hospital’s stroke centers:
Many thanks to those that reached out and sent your thoughts or prayers. You’ll help me the most by taking the time to learn more about strokes, including prevention, signs, and treatment.
Frank Finamore is Executive Director of the Village