How Arizonans can help their loved ones who are stroke victims

May 10, 2024, 8:00 PM | Updated: May 20, 2024, 2:24 pm

Stroke Awareness Month...

May is Stroke Awareness Month. (Barrow Neurological Institute photo/via Facebook)

(Barrow Neurological Institute photo/via Facebook)

PHOENIX — Since May is Stroke Awareness Month, this month’s Community Spotlight focuses on Barrow Neurological Institute encouraging Arizonans to educate themselves on signs and symptoms.

“It allows an individual or a patient to present to the emergency department as fast as possible and become a candidate for treatment,” according to Daniel Gonzalez, a neurologist in the institute’s stroke center.

One easy way for people to learn stroke signs it to memorize an acronym called BE FAST. Each letter stands for different types of bodily issues. For instance, the B stands for balance issues while the E refers to eye problems.

“The faster that the signs and symptoms of strokes are recognized, the higher the chance of a better functional outcome,” Gonzalez said.

There are two treatment options doctors can give stroke patients.

“One is a medication that’s given through an IV. Another is an actual surgical procedure where they can remove a clot,” Gonzales said.

Both of these treatments are time-dependent. That’s why swift action is needed whenever someone shows signs of having a stroke, he added.

This Stroke Awareness Month, learn the telltale the signs of a stroke

All in all, here’s what BE FAST stands for:

  • B: Balance, which refers to a person losing their balance or coordination skills. It also refers to dizziness.
  • E: Eyes, like when a person suddenly has blurred vision.
  • F: Face, such as when one side of the face is drooping.
  • A: Arms, as in weakness in the arms or legs.
  • S: Speech, as in difficulty speaking.
  • T: Timing, which is of the essence. The T means that someone witnessing these signs should call 911.

In addition to timing, the T in BE FAST can also refer to terrible headaches, according to the UNC School of Medicine. This is because headaches that come on suddenly with no known cause can also suggest a person is suffering from a stroke.

“If anyone’s having issues with balance, or their eyes, face or vision, facial drooping, arms are not working, or difficulty with speech or forming words, the time is now to call 911,” Gonzalez said.

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How Arizonans can help their loved ones who are stroke victims