A Grandmother gone too soon: American Stroke Month

While my son and I were living in Bogota, Colombia with my ex-husband, my Grandmother passed away. She suffered a series a strokes, and shortly after her mind and body failed. It was devastating for my family. My son was barely two, and he will never remember her. We were unable to get a flight that would return to the U.S. before the funeral.  

My Grandmother with my brother, cousins, and I 

In her honor, I would like to share some information regarding American Stroke Month. If a stroke is treated in a timely manner, many of the symptoms are reversible. There are a few key signs and symptoms you need to recognize. They have created an acronym called F.A.S.T.. 

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.
  • 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? Are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like: “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T- Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Facts about Strokes:
·         Someone in the U.S. has a stroke about once every 40 seconds.
·         Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death overall, killing more than 129,000 people a year. Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death for women and No. 5 cause of death for men.
·         Stroke is the No. 1 preventable cause of disability.
·         About 795,000 people have a stroke every year.
·         An estimated 6.8 million Americans 20 and older have had a stroke.

Stroke Warning Sign Knowledge and Treatment:
·         One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs.
·         According to a survey, Hispanic women are less likely than others to know most of the warning signs of a stroke – 25% did not know any, compared to 18% for whites and 19% for African Americans.
·         In a study of patients who had experienced a stroke, someone other than the patient made the decision to seek treatment in 66% of the cases, or every two in three.

Watch this brief PSA about the symptoms of a stroke and F.A.S.T. 

There is also a smartphone app:

The key to preventing death and permanent disability following a stroke is by acting fast.  
Please remember the acronym and encourage individuals to seek treatment right away.  
Happy Timing Tuesday,

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