This Father’s Day, many people are looking forward to in-person celebrations with fathers and other family members.
When you gather to celebrate the father figures in your life, be sure to take note of an easy way to recall the most common signs of stroke.
Nearly half of adult men in the United States are at increased risk for a stroke because of high blood pressure, according to the American Stroke Association — a division of the American Heart Association. Knowing how to respond quickly if you see someone showing signs of stroke can make a difference between full recovery and disability.
When someone has a stroke, the sooner it is identified and treated, the better the odds of survival and recovery.
This is what happened in the Maddux family. Mike Maddux, father of three, had a stroke and his wife and children quickly recognized that his drooping face, speech difficulty and arm weakness required immediate medical attention.
“Not only did F.A.S.T. save my life, it saved (and this is more important to me) my family from the hardships and challenges that can come with strokes not addressed quickly,” Maddux says.
This Father’s Day, the American Stroke Association encourages everyone to think F.A.S.T, a useful acronym to identify a stroke through these key signs:
- F-face drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- A-arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S- speech difficulty. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, such as, “The sky is blue.”
- T-time to call 911. – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get to a hospital immediately. Check the time so you can tell emergency responders when the first symptoms appeared.
Maddux’s own stroke wasn’t his first encounter with a life-altering medical emergency.
“Perhaps had we known about F.A.S.T. when my mother had her first stroke, maybe her life would have been different than spending five years in and out of nursing homes before she passed,” he says.
Visit stroke.org/Dad for more information on how to identify a stroke, as well as tips for healthy living, blood pressure control and stroke prevention.