May is American Stroke Month

Robbinsville, NJ - If you’re like most Americans, you don’t know the signs of stroke. Only 8 percent of those recently surveyed in the American Stroke Association/Ad Council Stroke Awareness Continuous Tracking Study could identify each letter in F.A.S.T., an acronym of the most common stroke warning signs.

“Anyone can have a stroke and everyone should be ready,” said Dr. James McKinney, president of Central NJ American Heart Association | American Stroke Association Board of Directors and medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ.  As part of American Stroke Month in May, McKinney is urging New Jerseyresidents to download a free mobile app to learn how to detect a stroke.

“Learning how to spot a stroke is just as important as teaching your family CPR or what to do in the event of a fire. With stroke — just like a cardiac arrest or a fire — time counts,” he said.

F.A.S.T.is the easy acronym  covering the most common signs of stroke:

  • F - Face Drooping
  • A - Arm Weakness
  • S - Speech Difficulty
  • T - Time to call 9-1-1

Additional stroke signs include: sudden severe headache with no known cause; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; or sudden confusion or trouble understanding.

Teaching people how to recognize a stroke and respond quickly is a primary goal of the American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative, sponsored nationally by Medtronic.

The free Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. app for iOS and Android is available in English and Spanish and includes a stroke warning sign quiz, high blood pressure chart and a searchable map of hospitals recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

“Many people think of strokes as a disease of the elderly, but it can happen to anyone at any time, even very young people,” said McKinney. “When someone recognizes a stroke and quickly calls 9-1-1, the person has a greater chance of getting to an appropriate hospital quickly and being assessed for a clot-busting drug or other medical devices that may save their life and improve their chances for recovery,”

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the nation’s No. 5 leading cause of death. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. For more information and to download the app, visit StrokeAssociation.org.