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When it comes to stroke, think FAST Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and in Nebraska. It is also one of the leading causes of adult disability. May is American Stroke Month, and Good Samaritan Hospital encourages everyone to learn about their risk for stroke. Also known as a “brain attack,” stroke affects the brain in much the same way a heart attack impacts the heart. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. As a result, part of the brain does not get the blood it needs and begins to die. The longer the blood flow is cut off to the brain, the greater the damage. Everyone is at some risk for stroke. Some risk factors are beyond our control: individuals over age 55, males, African-Americans, diabetics or those with a family history of stroke. However some risk factors like smoking, being overweight and drinking too much alcohol can be controlled.

Two million brain cells die every minute during stroke, increasing risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death. Recognizing symptoms and acting fast to get medical attention can save a life and limit disabilities. The Nebraska Cardiovascular Health Program as well as the National Stroke Association recommend the simple FAST test below if you suspect someone you know is having a stroke. F=FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? A=ARM Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? S=SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange? T=TIME If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 9-1-1 or get to the nearest hospital. Good Samaritan Hospital is committed to stroke prevention and treatment. To learn more, call 1-800-235-9905.

When healthcare experience matters, believe in Good Samaritan Hospital.

(C) 2012, Good Samaritan Hospital/Corporate Communications