Today in the ABC4 backyard speaking with Emily Clark, we have Doug Tapking. Doug is not only a member of the American Heart Association Board of Directors, but he is also a stroke survivor. Doug wants to give us a few facts regarding strokes and also how to recognize the signs.
Not all strokes can be prevented, but up to 80 percent may be preventable by not smoking, making healthy food choices, getting enough physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells die. About 2 million brain cells die per minute during a stroke emergency. Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds (about 800,000 people each year). Every 3 minutes 42 seconds, someone dies of a stroke.
- Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and the leading preventable cause of disability.
- Stroke during COVID-19 Stroke is a medical emergency. If someone is experiencing stroke symptoms, they should still call 9-1-1. Emergency medical responders can assess their symptoms, begin treatment in the ambulance, and transport the patient to the most appropriate hospital, if necessary. Fear of possible exposure to COVID-19 may play a role in this.
- Hospitals have plans in place to keep potentially contagious patients away from others and keep surfaces clean.
- Calling 9-1-1 and activating Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will ensure that you have the best possible chance to beat a heart attack or stroke. EMS can begin treatment in the ambulance and take you to the hospital best suited to care for you in an emergency.
- As many in the nation face extended time at home, it is possible that stroke warning signs may go unnoticed. It is important to check on those who live alone, regularly. Speaking on the phone or video calls can give important clues about common stroke warning signs.
Knowing the common stroke warning signs and what to do in a stroke emergency may help you save a life or reduce disability. To remember the stroke warning signs, remember the acronym F.A.S.T:
- Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.”
- Time to Call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
The American Heart Association is going to be having its annual 2020 Heart and Stroke Ball on Friday, June 12th. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve decided to change it into a fun and engaging virtual event.
We will also honor Utah’s front-line – the doctors, nurses, EMTs, and all those who have cared for so many patients affected by COVID-19 by presenting them with the Heart of Gold award.