On Your Health

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"BEFAST" when spotting the signs of a stroke

26 May 2014

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Hi. My name is Charlotte Colbert RN. I'm the INTEGRIS Health stroke community educator.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke, increasing the risk of permanent brain damage, disability or death. Eighty percent of strokes can be prevented, though, by controlling high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, and high cholesterol.

Strokes can occur at any age. One in five individuals with stroke is going to be between the ages of 20 and 55. "BEFAST," can save a life and limit disability.

The “B” in BEFAST stands for Balance. Watch for sudden loss of balance.

The “E” stands for Eyes. Check for vision loss

The "F" stands for Face. Does the face droop on one side when the person smiles?

"A" stands for Arms. After raising both arms -- or maybe one arm won't go up -- does the arm drift downward?

"S" stands for Speech. After repeating a simple phrase, does the person's speech sound slurred or strange?

If any one of these occurs, "T" is Time to call for help. You call 911 and ask for emergency assistance. If you have more questions, contact your local health care provider.

Stroke information for children

It's important to teach children how to spot the signs of a stroke. Have your child or grandchild watch this cartoon video so they are aware of the signs of a stroke and what to do if they occur.