May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and Parent Connection guest columnist Dr. Alexander Grunsfeld wants readers to know the warning signs.
“If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, note the time and act F.A.S.T.,” advises Grunsfeld, Chief of Neurology for Sentara Medical Group and Medical Director for Sentara Neurosciences.
F.A.S.T., an acronym for stroke warning signs, stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1.
Salem Elementary School student Danija Pender, 11-years-old, knows the F.A.S.T. acronym and acted fast when she recognized stroke symptoms in her aunt Ora Gordon at a family gathering on Easter Sunday. Thanks to Pender, her aunt did seek medical attention and was saved.
“In just minutes, a life can be devastated,” writes Grunsfeld. “The frightening part to the medical community is that fully one-half of people experiencing a stroke fail to act. One study found that 51.4 percent of the participants with undiagnosed symptoms of a stroke did not seek medical attention for their symptoms.”
In addition to praising Pender for her quick thinking, Grunsfeld applauds the work of Pender’s physical education teacher Kelly Jennings who has been teaching her students about stroke prevention for the last eight years as part of lessons on heart health.
“Educating people about how to recognize when someone is having a stroke, and what to do about it, is of critical importance,” Grunsfeld stresses.
To read Grunsfeld’s complete column and learn more about stroke warning signs and prevention, visit the Parent Connection guest columnist page on vbschools.com.