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Think "FAST" When You See The Signs of Stroke

June 25, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. - On average, one person dies in America every 40 seconds from a stroke, but that does not have to be the case. Kathy Roth is the stroke coordinator at MedCenter One, Bismarck. She says one simple way to save lives is by remembering the acronym "FAST."

"'F' stands for facial weakness. 'A' stands for arm weakness. 'S' is for speech problems. 'T' stands for time. If you notice any of these symptoms, you're supposed to act fast and call 911."

Roth says acting quickly is vital, because brain damage mounts with every passing minute following the onset of a stroke.

"It is the leading cause of disability in North Dakota. Lots of stroke victims have mobility problems; they may get one-sided weakness with their arm and their leg. Obviously, problems caring for yourself come with the physical disabilities."

According to the American Heart Association, about 1,000 people in North Dakota suffer a stroke each year, and it's the sixth-leading cause of death in the state.

Roth notes some of the causes of stroke.

"The most common risk factors are hypertension/high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation (when your heartbeat is irregular), high cholesterol and smoking."

More information is available at www.ndhealth.gov.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND