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Suffering from Stroke: Time to Act "FAST"

PHOTO: It is one of the leading causes of death in Iowa, but with quick action, the damage done by a stroke can be lessened. Photo credit: American Heart Association
PHOTO: It is one of the leading causes of death in Iowa, but with quick action, the damage done by a stroke can be lessened. Photo credit: American Heart Association
May 19, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa - This is National Stroke Awareness Month and Iowans are being reminded of the vital need for quick action with the onset of symptoms. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted so damage mounts with each passing minute, says Kassie Wessing with the American Heart Association in Iowa.

"The quicker that you can get treatment and the quicker that you can call 911 and emergency responders know what's happening with you, the better chance you have to survive and suffer minimal damage to your brain," Wessing says.

Wessing adds that symptoms of stroke can be easily remembered with the acronym "FAST," which stands for Facial drooping, Arm weakness and Speech difficulty, along with Time.

While a stroke can happen to anyone, research shows the vast majority can be prevented and Wessing says there are a number of ways to reduce risk.

"We kind of like to say what's good for your heart is good for your brain. So, not smoking is a big one. Eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and grains, and omega-3 fish oils. Definitely keeping active," she explains.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Iowa.

More info at www.strokeassociation.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA