Public Service Announcement: F-A-S-T Response to Stroke
CINCINNATI - A public service campaign by the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute and the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team aims to educate people about the importance of a F-A-S-T response to stroke.
A public service announcement (PSA) flyer, which can be downloaded in PDF format, explains the signs and symptoms of stroke and urges people to call 911 if they detect those signs in themselves or someone else. The flyer is appropriate for health care providers, educational and recreational institutions, churches, and the general public.
Failure to recognize the warning signs of stroke is one of the largest barriers to effective treatment, stroke experts say. Knowledge that a stroke is occurring or has occurred is critical, because medication must be administered within three hours of the stroke's onset. Because an individual who is having a stroke may be incapacitated or unaware that a stroke is occurring, assistance from a loved one or bystander may have lifesaving value.
A stroke generally strikes suddenly. It occurs when (1) a blood clot suddenly cuts off the flow of oxygen to the brain; or (2) a blood vessel in the brain suddenly ruptures. More than half a million Americans suffer a stroke each year, and stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States.
To simplify recognition of a stroke's symptoms, the Stroke Team developed the mnemonic FAST:
F: Facial numbness or weakness, especially on one side
A: Arm numbness or weakness, especially on one side
S: Slurred speech or difficulty speaking
T: Time to call 911
Symptoms of stroke also may include severe headache, dizziness, loss of balance, loss of vision or double vision. Surprisingly, pain is not a frequent symptom of stroke. The most common kind of stroke, which occurs when a clot interrupts blood flow to the brain, does not hurt, says Dawn Kleindorfer, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and a Stroke Team physician.
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The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team, which includes physicians and nurses, is devoted to patient care, research and educational outreach. The team treats stroke patients at all area hospitals.
The UC Neuroscience Institute, a regional center of excellence, is dedicated to patient care, research, education, and the development of new treatments for stroke, brain and spinal tumors, epilepsy, traumatic brain and spinal injury, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, disorders of the senses (swallowing, voice, hearing, pain, taste and smell), and psychiatric conditions (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression).