Stroke is an emergency - act FAST

Act FAST with stroke symptoms

Do you know the symptoms of a stroke? Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) is increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms associated with strokes during National Stroke Awareness Month in May.

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, call 9-1-1:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg, arm or face
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes 
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

“Stroke signs and symptoms are often subtle. It’s important to call 9-1-1 and go to the closest stroke center in a timely fashion to rule out the possibility of a stroke,” said Debby Bridgeman, RN, MSN, and stroke program coordinator. “Some of the more subtle signs of stroke that are often ignored include dizziness, numbness, weakness, loss of balance and headache.”

Spartanburg Medical Center and Pelham Medical Center are certified stroke centers, delivering the best possible care from the time a stroke happens through recovery.

“Certification for primary stroke centers means that we have quality guided processes in place to allow for rapid identification and timely treatment of stroke,” Bridgeman said. “These protocols help to reduce disabilities and improve patient outcomes following a stroke.”

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 800,000 strokes occurring each year. Some risk factors for stroke include high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, drug abuse, or lack of exercise.

“Stroke patients need to be evaluated quickly to determine if they are eligible for the clot busting medication,” Bridgeman said. “It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately to avoid any delays in treatment."

Patients have less than two-hours after the onset of stroke symptoms to get to the hospital to be evaluated for the medication that can help reduce disability.

“Act FAST” if you experience the following:

F - Face Drooping: One side of the face is drooping or numb

A - Arm Weakness: One arm is weak or numb

S - Speech Difficulty: Speech is slurred or a person is unable to speak or be understood

T - Time to Call 9-1-1: Call 9-1-1 if any of these symptoms occur

Talk to your physician to see if you are at-risk for stroke. If you think you may be having a stroke, don’t wait for the symptoms to go away: call 9-1-1.