We all know life moves fast – after all, summer is here and it seems like I was lamenting those late snowstorms we had just a few days ago.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and we all must remember to BE FAST in the case of this serious and potentially fatal event, which almost 800,000 Americans experience each year.

If you, someone you love or a coworker has any of the symptoms below, remember to hurry to Hegg Health Center, Rock Valley, where our emergency teams will be ready. We’re always open and prepared to face these frightening situations. You can make yourself more ready by remembering this guide known as BE FAST:

B – Sudden BALANCE loss

E – Sudden EYESIGHT loss

F – FACE drooping

A – ARM weakness

S – SPEECH difficulty

T – TIME to call 911

This approach is approved by the American Stroke Association. It can make a huge difference in the severity of the brain damage a stroke can cause.

BE FAST is a great tool, however preventing stroke before it happens is the best way you can impact your health and safety. If you smoke, set a date and make this your summer to quit the habit. We have resources at Hegg Health Center that can help. You can do it.

Other risk factors for stroke include diabetes and high blood pressure. Make sure you follow the guidance of your provider to keep your conditions under control. Excessive use of alcohol, high cholesterol and heart disease also increase the risk of stroke, which is also called “brain attack” – much like cardiac arrest is called heart attack.

Your lifestyle is the final factor, so as our summer unfolds, start walking and work more exercise into your day. Everyone is busy, but it’s important to devote time to keeping yourself healthy. Looking into local programs that can help you stay on track with an exercise plan are important.

More than 140,000 people die from stroke each year, but with some risk prevention as well as calm, quick action when symptoms occur, we can bring that number down. We are your allies and teammates and together we can get healthier prevent or lessen the impact of stroke.

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