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Health and Family Services Cabinet
ACT F.A.S.T. FOR STROKE

Press Release Date:  Monday, May 08, 2006  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Crace, (502) 564-6786  


DPH Reminds Kentuckians About Dangers of Stroke

Would you recognize a stroke if it happened to you or someone you know?

The Kentucky Department for Public Health wants more Kentuckians to be aware of the dangers of stroke, particularly for those who fall into a high risk category. It’s also important to understand these risk factors and important lifestyle choices that can reduce one’s risk of stroke.

“In Kentucky, stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability,” said Acting Undersecretary for Health, William Hacker, M.D. “The good news is if more people understand the factors that can lead to stroke, they can make changes in their lifestyle to help reduce their risk.”

The leading risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure.  If you don’t know the signs of stroke, they are:

· Sudden onset of weakness or numbness of one side of the body.
· Sudden loss of vision or double vision, particularly in one eye.
· Sudden difficulty speaking or trouble understanding speech.
· Sudden severe headache with no know cause, often called a “thunder clapper”.
· Sudden onset of unexplained dizziness or imbalance.
If you recognize any of these symptoms, act F.A.S.T.  That is, do this simple test:
· “F” stands for Face.  Ask the person to smile.  If the face is droopy on one side, that is a sign of a stroke.  Call 9-1-1 immediately. 
· “A” stands for Arm.  Ask the person to raise both arms.  If one arm drifts down or has no resistance to it, that is a sign of a stroke.  Call 9-1-1 immediately. 
· “S” stands for Speech.  Ask the person to say a simple phrase.  If the person’s speech is slurred, call 9-1-1 immediately. 
· “T” stands for Time.  Time to call 9-1-1. 

According to the American Stroke Association, the brain loses nearly 2 million brain cells every minute a stroke goes untreated.  If a stroke is recognized quickly and appropriate treatment is sought and given, the damage to the brain can be minimized.  However, if emergency help is delayed, this could result in serious disability and long-term rehabilitation.  Seek help immediately by calling 9-1-1.

African Americans are at greatest risk for stroke due to their high rate of high blood pressure.  Nearly half of all adult Kentucky African Americans have high blood pressure. 

“Anybody who has high blood pressure needs to seek medical attention to get it under control,” said Kentucky Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program Manager Brian Boisseau.  “Talk to your health care provider to see how you can lower your blood pressure and risk of stroke.”

You can find more information online at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/stroke.htm.

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Last Updated 5/8/2006