The acronym was among the tips on how to prevent and treat the nation’s third leading killer when the state’s top health official held a public alert at Maimonides Medical Center for National Stroke Awareness Month.
Commissioner Dr. Richard F. Daines joined prominent stroke experts for a press conference in the newly-expanded Emergency Room, Fort Hamilton Parkway, between 48th and 49th streets, to talk about stroke risk factors and symptoms, and to use the acronym, ‘FAST’ when you think you are having a stroke.
The letters correlate to a few symptoms of stroke: Facial paralysis, arm weakness and speech difficulties; the “T” in FAST is often translated as “time to act fast,” or the need for treatment.
The assemblage included representatives from the American Heart Association, and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, himself a stroke patient.
Stroke is the rapid progression of the loss of brain functions because of a disturbance in the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain. According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), strokes killed 150,074 people in 2004, and if any of the following symptoms occur suddenly, call 911: The face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, becomes numb or weak; talking and understanding are difficult; the onset of sudden confusion; walking, maintaining balance is difficult or impossible; sight becomes impaired in one or both eyes; a severe headache suddenly occurs without cause.
There is good news, though. Data compiled by ASA suggests that in recent years stroke deaths have declined by 10,000 Americans. New mortality information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also shows that, since 1999, stroke age-adjusted death rates are down by 24.4 percent.
For information about stroke-related programs and events in your community, visit www.locals