World Stroke Awareness Day: Tips on how to tell if someone is having a stroke

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Posted at 7:18 PM, Oct 29, 2021

According to CDC every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke.

October 29 marks World Stroke Awareness Day and hospitals at Tenet Health Central Coast are helping the community know that when it comes to a stroke you need to "be fast".

 “In just one minute of a stroke 19 million brain cells can die in one minute to the timeliness of getting to the hospital is very important," said Maria Irthum, Stroke and Neurosciences Coordinator at Tenet Health Central Coast.

But “be fast” is not just about time, it is a mnemonic device that stands for physical signs you can look for if you think someone is having a stroke.

“We use the mnemonic “be fast” which stands for balance, eyes, face, arms, speech, time," said Kristi Ermigarat, Stroke Clinical Coordinator at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

You can follow this mnemonic device to help you see the physical symptoms of a stroke. The first is assessing if the person is off balance.

Eyes refer to blurry vision or double vision.

For the face, the patient is asked to smile to see if one side droops.

For arms, the patient will hold out both arms to see if one drifts to the side. For speech, the patient is assessed to see if they understand speech.

Lastly, time is the importance of making the 911 call immediately.

Strokes can happen to anyone but there are some risk factors that put individuals at higher risk such as factors you can’t control like age.

However, there are risk factors that may be prevented or controlled such as the following: high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, diabetes, obesity, smoking or excessive alcohol use.

A stroke is not something to be taken lightly as the individual could be losing oxygen to the brain which can lead to irreversible damage.

Urgency is key so if you see something that might look like a stroke with someone around you make sure to call 911 right away.

The Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center is the only center that is quickly accessible for thrombectomy care which means that they are able to remove the blood clot from stroke victims.