Fitness Friday: F.A.S.T stroke warning signs

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – May is American Stroke Month and each year the American Heart Association helps raise awareness and rally the nation around the cause. Stroke threatens millions of American lives, young and old, male and female, from every background, yet a stroke is largely preventable through diet and exercise.

WINK News Fitness Expert Mike Drumm is here today share the F.A.S.T. stroke warning signs, and how you can become a “Stroke Hero” today.

1 out of 6 people will suffer a stroke in his or her lifetime. Every 40 seconds someone suffers from a stroke. It’s the number 5 cause of death.

The leading cause of disability in the U.S. Demographic factors such as family history, age, sex, and race/ethnicity can all play a role in an individual’s stroke risk, but regardless of your background, there are several things you can do to lower your chances of having a stroke.

Stroke Warning Signs

The focus of the American Stroke Month effort is making sure there are plenty of stroke heroes ready to save lives, and quality of life, from stroke.

1 in 3 Americans are unable to identify stroke warning signs so teach your family, friends and coworkers to spot a stroke F.A.S.T. The sooner stroke is treated, the better the odds of survival and a full recovery.

A “Stroke Hero” is ready to spot stroke signs and act quickly by calling 911. They might help make the difference between life and death or between full recovery and permanent disability. You can become a stroke hero just by knowing the stroke warning signs and being prepared to use them.

STROKE Warning Signs: Think F.A.S.T.

Think you are having a stroke? Call 911! F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the signs of stroke.

F is for: 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 is for: Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S is for: Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T is for: Time to call 911 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately.

Stroke Prevention: Diet and Exercise

A healthy diet, consistent exercise, and quitting smoking are your best weapons to lower your risk of a stroke.

EXERCISE: Consistency is Key

In order to make working out a consistent part of your life, you should work out on the same days of the week and around the same time to form a habit. A great schedule is Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/ Thursday/Saturday, so that you have a day off in between workouts to allow your body to recover. Once the habit is formed, it is much easier to stick with your fitness routine and enjoy the benefits of consistent exercise!


While you race back and forth between work, soccer  practice, the dance recital, and family errands,  you’re lucky to find time to grab a meal at the  drive-thru. Pass on the “value-size” When you supersize, the size of your fries isn’t the only thing that gets bigger.

Skip the sides Eating a burger or sandwich by itself is often filling enough without fries or chips.

Skip the mayo and other sauces. These dressings and sauces add unnecessary calories.

Drink water. Sodas are loaded with sugars, which have calories you don’t need.

QUIT SMOKING! Cigarette smoking contributes to one in every five strokes in the United States. Smoking, and even exposure to second-hand smoke, can thicken the blood and make it more likely to clot.

Thicker blood flow can lead to increased plaque buildup in your arteries and damage to the blood vessels leading to the brain, which can cause or worsen a stroke. So, quit smoking—or better yet, don’t start.

Focus on the ABCS to prevent cardiovascular disease, including stroke, and contribute to overall health:

Appropriate Aspirin therapy: Ask your doctor if taking aspirin is right for you.

Blood pressure control: Keeping your blood pressure under control reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. Half of the world’s stroke deaths are caused by elevated blood pressure levels.

Cholesterol management: Get your cholesterol checked regularly and manage it with diet and physical activity or with medication, if needed.

Smoking cessation: Get help at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Exercise regularly.

Eat a healthy diet that’s low in sodium.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Limit your alcohol intake (fewer than two drinks per day for men, or one drink per day for women).

Relax. Stress can cause weight gain, and increase your heart rate that could damage your artery walls. The next time you feel anxious, breathe deep and try to chill. Laugh, smile, play. Evidence shows the health benefits of lightheartedness and optimism for healing and fighting off illness. Seeking happiness-producing activities is a good way to relieve stress and boost your mood—and heart health.

Remember, it’s the sum of your choices that count. It’s treatable and beatable. When responding to a stroke, every minute counts. The sooner a patient receives medical treatment, the lower the risk for death or disability. If you or someone you know exhibits the following signs or symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. Remember, getting immediate medical attention for stroke is crucial to preventing disability and death.

Why American Stroke Month Matters
STROKE is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.

Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke

1 out of 6 people will suffer a stroke in his or her lifetime

STROKE is the number 5 cause of death in the U.S

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