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Published on May 06, 2006

Recognizing Stroke Symptoms Can Save Lives

May 06, 2006

Amy Shram, Vascular specialist, scans the Carotid Arteries of Nancy Barnes during Fox Valley Cardiovascular Consultants’ screening for Stroke Risk at Valley West Community Hospital.

Amy Shram, Vascular specialist,
scans the Carotid Arteries of
Nancy Barnes during Fox Valley
Cardiovascular Consultants’
screening for Stroke Risk at
Valley West Community Hospital.

Fewer than one in five Americans can identify even one stroke symptom. Stroke, or brain attack, is the leading cause of adult disability and the third leading cause of death in America. Recognizing when stroke is occurring and reacting F.A.S.T. to get lifesaving treatment can save the lives of the men and women in your life.

Fox Valley Cardiovascular Consultants filled every slot last week at Valley West Community Hospital doing non-invasive screenings to help detect a patient’s risk of stroke. The ultrasound scans, done by two vascular specialists from FVCC, each took approximately 20 minutes. Dr. Vijay Shah of FVCC and a medical staff member of Valley West, will evaluate the stroke risk and report to patients.

In a recent poll conducted by National Stroke Association, one-third of men could not recognize even one stroke symptom. That is not good news for men, or the women in their lives, who are uniquely impacted by stroke. National Stroke Association’s “Women in Your Life” campaign is working to change these statistics by educating Americans about stroke prevention and recognizing stroke symptoms.
Research also shows that women take longer than men to get to the hospital after experiencing stroke symptoms. They wait longer to be treated in the emergency room. Women are also more likely to be the caregiver for a stroke survivor.

Many stroke patients have no idea they are having a stroke because brain cells are dying which can effect judgment. Learning to recognize a stroke is important and easy, just think F.A.S.T.

Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms – Ask the person to hold both arms up evenly. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are their words slurred or mixed up?
Time – If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. Brain cells are dying.

The good news is up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Stop smoking, keep blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes under control, and manage atrial fibrillation (a condition where the heart beats irregularly) to reduce stroke risk. 

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