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FAST Action is Vital Upon the Onset of Stroke Symptoms

IMAGE: Time is vital when it comes to treating stroke, as brain damage mounts with each passing minutes and there is just a small window of time where clot busting drugs can be administered. CREDIT: AHA
IMAGE: Time is vital when it comes to treating stroke, as brain damage mounts with each passing minutes and there is just a small window of time where clot busting drugs can be administered. CREDIT: AHA
May 20, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas - May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and one of the key points in the event of a stroke is FAST action. Dr. Ziad Darkhabani said certain clot-busting drugs can only be given within a short time frame, so people need to call 911 immediately upon onset of symptoms, which can be memorized with the acronym "FAST."

"Facial, Arm, Speech and Time," the doctor spelled out. "Facial - any facial weakness, basically - that's going to indicate possible stroke. Arm weakness or drift. Speech problem. And they added the 'T' just to show how important time is."

Time is also vital, Darkhabani explained, because with a stroke, brain damage begins to mount right away.

"Every minute passed, thousands of cells will die," he said. "Thousands of connections between the cells also will die, and that's why time is extremely important for the treatment of stroke."

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Texas, claiming around 9,000 lives a year. It is also a leading cause of long-term disability. Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.

More information is available at http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX