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Stroke Awareness Oregon strives to make the F.A.S.T. acronym a household safety word

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - FASTA stroke is a brain attack.

For every minute the brain is without oxygen, it loses 2 million brain cells, meaning time is brain.

"Our purpose for November is to make F.A.S.T. a household safety word because with stroke, the sooner one reaches the ER for medical attention, the less likely is the possibility of death or serious disability," said Carol Stiles, executive director of Stroke Awareness Oregon.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes. A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial.

Stroke Awareness Oregon, a Bend-based nonprofit created by physicians, stroke survivors and community members, exists to eliminate disability and death from stroke through awareness of causes, symptoms, and treatment, and through recovery support.

Stiles said they want to assure that everyone understands the lifesaving acronym F.A.S.T. A nationally accepted means of identifying stroke early, F.A.S.T. stands for F (face drooping), A (arm or one-side weakness), S (garbled or unintelligible speech), and T (time to call 9-1-1).

"People experiencing stroke often brush aside the warning signs and simply try to 'sleep it off.' This leads to disastrous results," Stiles said. "That is why Stroke Awareness Oregon has designated November as 'make F.A.S.T. a household safety word' month in Central Oregon."

Stroke Awareness Oregon reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in Oregon and the leading cause of disability in the world. While more than 70% of strokes occur in adults over the age of 65, strokes can occur at any age.

"In fact, there is a marked increase in young adults suffering stroke," Stiles said. "The good news is that new and improved medical technologies to treat stroke can decrease the incidents of death and disability if the stroke sufferer received medical diagnosis and treatment within the first 150 minutes."

The November F.A.S.T. campaign involves distribution of F.A.S.T. postcards to businesses and offices, radio and television public service announcements, and print articles about F.A.S.T. and stroke survivors.

For additional information or to receive F.A.S.T. information, call Stroke Awareness Oregon at 541 323-5641.



Facial drooping

Arm weakness,

Speech difficulties

Time to call 9-1-1

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