Know the Signs of a Stroke and How to Respond

By Jason M Carlton

May — which is Stroke Awareness Month — is a great time to remember that a stroke can strike anyone, from children to the aged, and that B.E. F.A.S.T. not only describes the symptoms of a stroke, but how to respond.

Stroke-Awareness-Month-Utah-Intermountain
B.E. F.A.S.T. and call 911 when you see these signs:

 - Balance: Sudden loss of balance or coordination
 - Eyes: Sudden change in vision
 - Face: Sudden weakness of the face
 - Arm: Sudden weakness of an arm or leg
 - Speech: Sudden difficulty speaking
 - Time: Time the symptoms started

Responding quickly is important because in the first minute of a stroke, the brain loses an estimated 1.9 million cells, which means every minute counts, according to Intermountain Medical Center stroke team. Intermountain Medical Center treats more stroke patients than any other hospital in Utah and is certified by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center.

Patient Story
Ashley Irvin, who’s 23 — and a college athlete — was at a family barbeque when she developed a right-side weakness and had trouble talking. Her family quickly recognized the signs and called 911. She was taken to Intermountain Medical Center, diagnosed with a stroke, and administered a life-saving medicine, tPA, within 18 minutes of arriving at the hospital. ABC4 News told her story in a news report that aired last week.

An estimated 610,000 people in the United States suffer a new stroke each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. While some factors that increase the risk of stroke — such as age, gender and ethnicity, can’t be controlled — managing unhealthy habits, including smoking, excessive drinking, poor eating habits, and inactivity, can reduce your risk of stroke.

During Stroke Awareness Month, Intermountain Medical Center is giving away a three-pack of Titleist golf balls each day in May. Visit Intermountain Medical Center on Facebook and find the post about Stroke Awareness Month to be eligible.