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Could You Spot a Stroke FAST?

PHOTO: A free app is available for iOS and Android users that can help Michiganders identify the warning signs of a stroke, and get to the closest treatment center. Image courtesy of American Heart Association.
PHOTO: A free app is available for iOS and Android users that can help Michiganders identify the warning signs of a stroke, and get to the closest treatment center. Image courtesy of American Heart Association.
May 18, 2015

DETROIT - A stroke is a medical emergency that can happen to anyone and can be fatal or leave a person physically or mentally impaired. That's why it's critical to know the warning signs and to act FAST.

Dr. Aniel Majjhoo, vascular and interventional neurology with the Wayne State Physician Group, says the acronym FAST explains what to look for, and what to do: Face drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty, and Time is of the essence.

When it comes to time, he says every second counts for a stroke victim.

"Approximately two million neurons are dying every minute," he says. "So we want those patients to be evaluated at the appropriate stroke centers so they can get appropriate care."

Majjhoo says additional stroke signs can include a sudden severe headache, dizziness, loss of balance or sudden confusion. The American Heart Association now offers a free smartphone app called "Spot a Stroke FAST" to help users identify the warning signs, assess risk factors, and find the closest treatment center.

Majjhoo says the risk of stroke is greater for those with a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease, but there are several lifestyle modifications all Michiganders can make, including not smoking, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

"The incidence of stroke in the US is about 800,000 and it's increasing with every year, and it increases with age, but we are seeing younger and younger patients who are developing strokes," says Majjhoo.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability, and the nation's fifth leading cause of death, according to the American Heart Association.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI