Stroke is the sixth leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in Washington State. Today is World Stroke Day, and the Washington State Department of Health is urging people to know the symptoms and act fast if they suspect a stroke.
“Getting the right treatment in time can mean the difference between life and death,” said Kim Kelley, manager for the Department of Health’s Washington Coverdell Stroke Program, in a press release from the Department of Health.
“One of the biggest challenges in stroke treatment is the first step: making sure people recognize symptoms and know to call 911 immediately. Two million brain cells can die every minute during a stroke and the sooner you act, the better your chances of recovery.”
To recognize stroke, remember to act F.A.S.T.:
• Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
• Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
• Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or difficult to understand?
If you observe one or more of these signs, call 911 immediately.
When a person calls 911, Washington’s Emergency Cardiac and Stroke System kicks in to help get patients to the right hospital as quickly as possible, according to the press release.
Because of the system, emergency medical services personnel know what cardiac and stroke capabilities are available at nearby hospitals, and they can take patients directly to the hospital best suited for them. EMS will call ahead, so the appropriate medical team is ready to assess and treat patients as soon as they arrive.
Learn more about stroke on the Department of Health’s website.