Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stroke: Save Yourself by Knowing the Five Signs and Acting Quickly

(ARA) - When a stroke strikes, every minute counts in saving the person's life. Speedy treatment depends on the person afflicted or someone near them recognizing the five signs that a stroke is occurring and getting emergency help fast. You can remember the five signs of stroke with these five words: walk, talk, reach, see, and feel.

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. About 5.3 million Americans suffer from strokes annually, which means you or someone you care about could be affected.

Dr. Diana Fite, an emergency physician from Houston, experienced a stroke in 2006 while driving her car. She was 53 at the time. Thanks to her quick reaction and prompt medical attention, she made a full recovery.

"Because I am an emergency physician, I knew to call 9-1-1 to get help immediately, which is why I recovered quickly," Fite says. "But I know from my experience as a doctor that too many people ignore stroke symptoms or wait for them to go away, with tragic results."

Fite is the spokesperson for "Give Me 5 for Stroke: Walk, Talk, Reach, See, Feel," a campaign aimed at educating Americans about the five warning signs of a stroke. The campaign is made up of three organizations: the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Stroke Association. The group came up with five words to help people remember the warning symptoms of stroke more easily: walk, talk, reach, see and feel. By paying attention to how a person walks, talks, reaches, sees and feels, individuals and family members can recognize when a stroke is happening and react immediately.

"Walk" is to recognize if a person's balance is off-kilter, "talk" identifies if a person's speech is slurred or their face is droopy, "reach" points out if the person feels numb on one side, "see" pin points if the person has partially or completely lost their vision and "feel" discovers if the person has a severe headache. If any of these stroke symptoms occur suddenly, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Actress Morgan Fairchild, who recently played Sophia Blakely in “Fashion House” and is remembered as Jordan Roberts in the ‘80s TV drama “Falcon Crest,” has teamed up with the organizations in promoting "Give Me 5 for Stroke." They are also recognizing World Stroke Day on Oct. 29, highlighting the importance of identifying, treating and preventing strokes.

"I witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of stroke on my mother," says Fairchild, the primary caregiver for her mother, who suffered a series of debilitating strokes until her death in 1999. "Stroke is a killer, but for too many people, it doesn't need to be. If you know the warning signs and get medical help right away, you have an excellent chance of making a good recovery.

“Women especially need to know the warning signs, because they account for over 60 percent of the deaths from stroke,” Fairchild adds. “We are also the health information keepers for our families and must spread the word to our siblings, spouses, parents and friends about how to recognize a stroke."

For additional information about "Give Me 5 for Stroke: Walk, Talk, Reach, See, Feel" and resources about strokes, visit www.giveme5forstroke.org or call the toll free number (888) 4STROKE.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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