Some things in life are better accomplished in a slow fashion, like cooking pasta sauce or ribs. Other actions are better done as fast as possible. A prime example of something best done as swiftly as possible is responding to the signs and symptoms of a stroke. The Centers for Disease Control, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, has coined the acronym F.A.S.T. to help the general public become aware of the best course of action to take if they believe a stroke is in progress. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel can no longer bring blood to an area of the brain, and is also called a brain attack. By remembering the F.A.S.T acronym, you can be ready to act FAST and help someone in need!
F: FACE. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A: ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S: SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
T: TIME: If you see any of these signs call 9-1-1 right away.
A stroke is definitely a medical emergency, so calling 911 is imperative and should be done quickly to take advantage of treatments that can reverse the stroke if offered within three hours of onset.
Women have an increased risk for stroke as their age increases, their blood pressure increases and is uncontrolled, as they become less active, and if they have untreated conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Other factors unique to women may also contribute to the risk, including high blood pressure during pregnancy and certain types of birth control. And African American women are twice as likely as white women to have a stroke due to higher incidences of diabetes, high blood pressure, and being overweight. The CDC has also developed the ABCS for heart health so that women can decrease their risk for stroke.
Aspirin: Check with your physician about the benefits of aspirin, which can help prevent the risk of stroke in some, but not all, women.
Blood Pressure: Control your blood pressure.
Cholesterol: Manage your cholesterol.
Smoking: Quit smoking or don’t start.
Since 6 out of 10 of all strokes happen to women, as a gender we should be faster by changing our lifestyle habits….faster to eat right and exercise, to lose weight, to see a physician about blood pressure or heart conditions, and faster to recognize the signs of a stroke in progress. This is one time that faster is better!