May is National Stroke Month; B.E. F.A.S.T. to Recognize Symptoms

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – (May 27, 2021) When it comes to having a stroke, every minute counts. Quick action can help stroke patients get the treatment they need to survive and reduce damage to the brain. But these days you need to B.E. F.A.S.T.

During May, National Stroke Month, physicians at Forrest General’s Primary Stroke Center and the American Stroke Association want you to know that while the F.A.S.T. (Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty, Time to Call 911) acronym once provided a helpful way to determine if a person was having an acute stroke, B.E. (Balance, Eyes) has been added to provide even more assistance in making that determination. Balance refers to a sudden loss of balance or coordination, while the E means a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing.

 “Identifying issues with balance or visual loss as possible stroke symptoms increases the number of people who may be eligible to receive acute stroke treatment,” said Dana Crawford, stroke coordinator. An American Heart Association study says a simple modification of the FAST mnemonic (BE-FAST) could reduce the proportion of missed strokes while reinforcing the essential public health message.

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 3 out of 5 people are aware of all major stroke symptoms and know to call 9-1-1 when someone is having a stroke, but there’s more work to do. While about 1 in 4 stroke survivors suffers a second stroke, it doesn’t have to be that way. Reduce your risk. Work with your doctor to create a secondary stroke prevention plan and stick with it.

That plan might include:

  • Manage high blood pressure
  • Control cholesterol
  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Be active
  • Eat better
  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Discuss an aspirin regimen with your doctor

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. The faster the stroke is treated, the more likely the patient is to recover. In fact, stroke patients who are treated with a clot-busting drug within 90 minutes of their first symptoms were almost three times more likely to recover with little or no disability, according to the American Stroke Association.

Signs of a stroke in men and women include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

By knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke, you can take quick action and perhaps save a life – maybe even your own.

Forrest General is home to a Primary Stroke Center, which features a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.

With a highly-specialized acute rehabilitation center, Forrest General offers a variety of services. For more information about inpatient rehabilitation at Forrest General’s Rehabilitation Center, call 601-288-3800.

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