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A "FAST" Response to Stroke Can Reduce Long-Term Damage
Date:5/7/2013

New York, New York (PRWEB) May 07, 2013

A stroke can strike in an instant, but can change a person's life forever. Strokes -- 80 percent of which are caused by a blood clot that blocks blood flow to the brain -- are medical emergencies that require immediate attention. The earlier a stroke is recognized and treated, the greater the chance of recovery. Remembering the acronym FAST is an easy way to learn how to recognize a stroke and what to do to minimize its long-term damaging effects.

  • F is for Face: Does the person's face look uneven?
  • A is for Arm: Is one arm hanging down?
  • S is for Speech: Is the person's speech slurred? Other signs of stroke include confusion or trouble speaking.
  • T is for Time: Call 911 now!

Other signs of a stroke are a sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arms or legs, specifically on one side of the body; dizziness and trouble walking; loss of vision in one or both of the eyes; or a sudden severe headache that occurs for no apparent reason.

"When someone has a stroke, they may show either slight or extremely noticeable physical changes," says Dr. Randolph Marshall, chief of the Stroke Division at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. "The most effective way to prevent the permanent damage associated with stroke is to recognize the signs of an attack and to seek medical attention immediately."

Early treatment can prevent, and in some cases reverse, damage caused by strokes. One of the most common treatments is tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), the only FDA-approved clot-dissolving drug for acute ischemic stroke. The drug is injected into an artery or vein to dissolve the clot, restoring blood flow to the brain. Another treatment is revascularization, in which microcatheters are inserted into the artery to remove the blockages and reop
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