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North Dakotans Told to Think "FAST" When It Comes to Stroke

PHOTO: A diagram of an ischemic stroke. Courtesy of the American Heart Association.
PHOTO: A diagram of an ischemic stroke. Courtesy of the American Heart Association.
October 29, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakotans are being reminded that time is of the essence on this World Stroke Day. Justin Bell, government relations director with the American Heart Association, says a stroke is a vascular event that causes brain damage, which can become worse with each passing second.

"It can either be a blood clot or a blood hemorrhage, and when it shows up, you have a very time-sensitive window to try to take care of it. It's a time-critical event. When you have a stroke, you have only a golden window of opportunity to try to seek medical attention - so it's important that you act quickly."

Since time is so critical when it comes to stroke, Bell says folks should remember the acronym FAST.

"Check out someone's Face, Arms or Speech to see if they're altered in any way - speech is slurred, or you see part of their face drooping a little bit, or they're not able to move one of their arms in the same way as the other - and they seem disoriented. Then, the last letter of the acronym, 'T,' is for 'Time.' That means time is of the essence, and you want to call 911 immediately."

Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, tobacco use, high cholesterol and obesity. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in North Dakota.

More information is available at www.strokeassociation.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND