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Recognizing the important signs of stroke can save lives

May 16, 2022

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May is Stroke Awareness Month. While Legacy Health is committed year-round to educating the public about strokes, we are even more focused on the effort during this special month. That means we’ll be getting super specific about strokes: How to recognize symptoms and possible causes; the need to emphasize awareness and different treatments; and the advantages of having a Legacy stroke care provider.

First, it’s critical to understand that there is more than one cause for a stroke. Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain stops. But blood flow stops for two main reasons: A blood vessel blockage or from a broken blood vessel. Either way, when blood flow to the brain stops, brain cells are deprived of the oxygen and nutrients they need. Permanent damage can be caused within a few minutes.

Strokes may seem to occur randomly. But there are recognizable signs when something might be wrong. Legacy has adopted an easy way to remember these signs – an acronym “BE FAST”:

  • BALANCE: Sudden loss of balance.
  • EYES: Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.
  • FACE: Sudden weakness on one side of the face.
  • ARM: Sudden weakness in one arm or leg.
  • SPEECH: Sudden loss of speech.
Recognizing the important signs of stroke can save lives

Even though other health issues can resemble a stroke, it’s critical to get help for anyone showing some or all these symptoms right away Calling “911” is imperative.

There are also ways to reduce the risks of getting a stroke. For example, blood pressure checks should occur regularly — even frequently. Having out of control cholesterol, blood sugars, or weight can also raise the risk of stroke. It is important to talk with a doctor to learn how to control these. Most of all, understand that smoking cigarettes raises blood pressure, contributes to clogged arteries and makes the heart work harder. Smokers run double the risk of getting a stroke compared to non-smokers. Quitting smoking is the best solution, learn more about quitting here.

For those who have suffered strokes, getting care at one of Legacy’s nationally recognized stroke programs is highly recommended. Five of Legacy’s hospitals are certified stroke centers that are also ranked among the best for stroke care in the United States. It’s well known that stroke patients who receive care at a dedicated stroke unit usually recover better than people recovering at a general medical unit— they have better chances for long term survival and quality of life.

In 2021 alone, Legacy stroke centers received numerous awards from the American Heart Association and cared for 1,904 stroke patients.

Learn more about Legacy’s stroke program and important resources on stroke here.

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