2013-09-05 / Senior Savvy

Stroke Support Group

Newport Hospital offers a stroke support group on the second Wednesday of the month. The next meeting is on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. in the Gudoian Conference Room at the hospital. For more information about stroke care and the support group, call 401-845-1864 or 401-845-1757.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., and a leading cause of major disability. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention can lower the risk of disability and death. But the reality, according to Devin Tsai, M.D., a member of Newport Hospital’s Stroke Standards Team and an emergency department physician, is that most people don’t seek immediate care or even know what the symptoms are.

“Stroke is an emergency and it should be treated as one,” said Tsai. “Two million brain cells die every minute during stroke and every minute that passes is time that the brain is being deprived of oxygen. This is why immediate medical attention is essential to help save lives and limit disabilities.”

“Recognizing stroke symptoms is key, we encourage people to identify stroke symptoms by thinking of the acronym FAST.” said Tsai.

FAST can be used to help people remember the warning signs.

F = Face. Ask the person to smile. Does the face look uneven?

A = Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down or is it unable to move?

S = Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound strange? Strange speech could be slurred, the wrong words may come out, or the person is unable to speak.

T = Time to call 9-1-1. If a person is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to call 9-1-1. Equally important is calling 9-1-1 at the exact time of the onset of the symptoms.

While recognizing and treating stroke symptoms is crucial, so is taking steps to prevent stroke, especially since 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

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