How to recognize the signs of stroke

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a health emergency that can affect anyone of any age. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers from a stroke.

A person suffers a stroke when blood can’t get to their brain, it can be damaging and deadly.  Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and it can happen to anyone.

“There’s no rhyme or reason. We’ve seen strokes in children, we’ve seen strokes in young adults, middle-aged people, the elderly…” Mike Harrowfield, with Springfield’s American Medical Response branch.

The faster you can recognize the signs of a stroke, the better your chance for survival. There are four things to look for and you can remember them with the acronym, FAST, Face Arms Speech and Time.

First, ask the person to smile, to check for any drooping in the face. If one side is lower than the other than that’s a warning sign. Then, ask them to raise both of their arms. If one of arms appears to sink on one side, or if they have any numbness in their arm, then that’s another sign.

After checking for physical signs, ask them to recite something for you, a song or a phrase, to check for slurred speech. Remember, time is key. Brain cells die every second during a stroke.

It’s important to remember no matter how mild these symptoms may be it’s always better to play it safe. Springfield AMR recommends you always call 9-1-1 if you suspect a stroke. It could save someone’s life.

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