Be an Office Health Hero: Recognize the Signs of a Stroke
With so much of our lives spent at work, it is only natural that sometimes medical problems arise when we are not at home. For the next few days, we’re going to be looking at some life-threatening situations that might come up in the office. Recognizing the problem and knowing what to do can make a world of difference to a colleague in danger.
Time is of the essence for someone experiencing a stroke as every minute without treatment costs the victim 1.9 million brain cells. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and about 780,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year.
Early medical care at the first sign of a stroke can greatly help the outcome. Doctors have many techniques at their disposal, including surgery, aspirin, blood thinners, and clot-busting drugs that can stop some strokes in progress. Someone suffering a stroke, however, often isn’t in a position to help himself. The person may not recognize the symptoms or be physically or mentally unable to signal for assistance.
The National Stroke Association urges everyone to become familiar with the F.A.S.T. test in order to help determine if someone is having a stroke. Each letter stands for a different evaluation:
Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
If you observe any of these signs, call 9-11 immediately.
The association also offers a free, downloadable card with this information, if you’d like to post it on a bulletin board or carry it in your wallet.