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St. Mary educates community on warning signs of stroke

In recognition of National Stroke Awareness Month, St. Mary Medical Center urges community members to “BE FAST” in identifying symptoms of stroke to reduce the risk of death and disability.

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the number one cause of disability and fifth leading cause of death in the United States, with a stroke occurring every 40 seconds. A stroke occurs when a blood clot or artery rupture prevents blood-flow and oxygen from getting to the brain.

St. Mary colleagues encourage patients to use the acronym “BE FAST” – recently updated from “FAST” by the American Stroke Association – to act quickly during a stroke. A stroke may produce the following symptoms, and requires immediate medical attention: B – balance loss; E – eyesight loss; F – facial drooping; A – arm weakness; S – speech difficulty; T – time to call 911.

“During a stroke, every second counts. The faster you can identify a stroke, the faster you can seek medical treatment and improve your chances of recovery,” said Claire Goetz, acute stroke program coordinator at St. Mary Medical Center. “A quick response can make all the difference in preventing serious brain damage or disability.”