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HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Offers Stroke Awareness Tips

The recent winter weather not only poses a safety risk, but also health risks. “Research shows that a dramatic shift in temperature can lead to an increase in incidences of stroke,” said Dr. Phil Barnell, chief medical officer at HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital. “When it comes to strokes, faster treatment leads to better brain function. The effect that a stroke has on the body increases with every minute that treatment is delayed,” said Barnell. St. Mary’s Hospital encourages everyone to check on their loved ones and neighbors, and pay attention to any symptoms of serious health concerns, including stroke.

The acronym FAST provided by the American Stroke Association, is an easy way to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke. If you notice a person experiencing these symptoms please do not ignore them or wait to see if they go away, call 911 immediately.

F – Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?  Ask the person to smile, is it even?
A – Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb?  Ask the person to raise both arms up, does one drift downward?
S – Speech: Is their speech suddenly difficult to understand?  Ask them to repeat a simple sentence like “The sky is blue.”  Can they repeat it back to you, can you understand it?
T – Time: Call 9-1-1 and seek medical treatment right away if a person is experiencing these symptoms. Make note of when the person was last behaving normally, the medical provider will need this information.

Other possible symptoms could include: sudden confusion, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, trouble with walking or balance, loss of coordination or severe headache.

If you see someone experiencing any of these symptoms, immediately call 911 or emergency medical services.

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