“Give Me Five” for Stroke or “Act F.A.S.T.”??

May is National Stroke Awareness Month we can agree. Right? Especially this month I’ve found all public agencies seem to be trying to get their own “version” of their message out about recognizing the warning signs for stroke. This post is to clear up the confusion and help you decide which you like better.

My suggestion:

Regardless of the mnemonic you choose-simply KNOW-STROKE!

Here is what several agencies are arguing about:

(from Stroke.org) USE Act FAST

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a time to educate the nation and spread awareness about stroke prevention, symptom recognition and recovery. In recent years stroke deaths have declined by 10,000 Americans. This year, National Stroke Association hopes to continue to reduce stroke deaths by educating the public to recognize stroke symptoms, and to Act F.A.S.T. and “Save a Life.”

  • For every minute that brain cells are deprived of oxygen during stroke, the likelihood of brain damage increases. Act F.A.S.T.
  • Treatment can be more effective if given early on. Act F.A.S.T.
  • TIA (transient ischemic attack) is a risk factor of stroke and a call to action to prevent a stroke. Act F.A.S.T.

For the six million stroke survivors in the United States, Acting F.A.S.T. is even more critical because they are at risk for a recurrent stroke. But stroke prevention is only one part of the stroke recovery journey. For stroke survivors, the other integral component is National Stroke Association’s message of HOPE: Stroke is a Lifelong Journey. Because hope is such an important part of a successful stroke recovery. Click here to download materials that will help survivors and caregivers on their road to recovery.

Stroke Symptoms:
If you have any stroke symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

These include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may have had a TIA or mini-stroke. Ask your doctor if you can lower your risk for stroke by taking aspirin, or by other means.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do this simple test:

Act F.A.S.T.

FACE Ask the person to smile.

Does one side of the face droop?

ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms.

Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.

Are the words slurred? Can he/she repeat the sentence correctly?

TIME If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important.

Call 911 or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.

This is from the Stroke Collaborative

and why they prefer “Give Me Five”

(Source http://www.giveme5forstroke.org/healthcare/)

Strengthening the Stroke Team

Stroke is the #3 killer of Americans. However, with more prompt treatment, thousands of Americans may be saved or recover more fully, to return to normal life. Our goal is to reduce the deaths and disabilities due to stroke by ensuring that healthcare providers have the tools needed to quickly recognize and diagnose a stroke for treatment.

In addition to the work AAN, ACEP, and ASA are individually leading to advance stroke recognition and care, they formed The Stroke Collaborative to bring together emergency physicians and neurologists, leaders in the Acute Stroke Team, to ensure every hospital has the team and the resources available to provide the optimal care.

Why is the Stroke Collaborative Presenting a New Way to Remember the Warning Signs?
Other acronyms and devices are not inclusive of all stroke symptoms. All three of our organizations are members of the Brain Attack Coalition (BAC) and we all support an education program focusing on the “Sudden” signs of a stroke. The “Suddens” campaign is inclusive of all the warning signs (captures 100 percent of stroke symptoms) but it may be difficult to remember for the average consumer. Over the past few years, an alternative message, “FAST”, has surfaced but it is not a message our organizations and the BAC support. Stroke warning signs are missing from “FAST” and since a person may only experience one symptom, it is important that all symptoms be remembered and acted upon quickly.

Why was “Give Me 5 for Stroke” Chosen?
To find a suitable alternative, the Stroke Collaborative wanted create a campaign and public message that is memorable and includes all the important stroke warning signs. We tested a new “Give Me Five” concept for communicating the warning signs of stroke to determine if it was more easily remembered among consumers than the standard “Suddens” warning signs. The results of the online survey of 1,000 people indicate that recall of all five warning signs with “Give Me Five” is nearly twice as high as the traditional warning signs. Twenty-one percent of those exposed recalled all five warning signs in some form versus 11 percent of those exposed to the traditional warning signs.


Do you know-stroke?


May is Stroke Awareness month:

Do you know-stroke?

May 1,2008

Acknowledging the month of May as “Stroke Awareness Month” offers advocates for stroke awareness, stroke survivors and their families and caregivers an opportunity to educate the public about the devastating and debilitating effects of stroke. I offer this page on my sites today exactly one year to the day that I had heart surgery to repair a PFO that caused my stroke. Last year I woke up from surgery and still was not sure what the future held as far as being able to return to work and family responsibilities. I did realize, however, that on May 1st I was given a new beginning. Today, I give thanks to all who helped in my recovery, from all the great staff at MGH and especially to my wife, my real stroke hero for helping me keep the faith and constantly encouraging me on my “journey”.

For more on my story and how I am determined to raise stroke awareness please visit my blog at know-stroke.org

I posted this page especially today so that you may Know-Stroke and Be Stroke Smart by:

  • Reducing Stroke Risk
  • Recognize Stroke Symptoms
  • Responding FAST by calling 911

    What is stroke?
    A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel or artery, or when a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When a stroke occurs, it kills brain cells in the immediate area.2 types of stroke:

    Ischemic strokes can occur two ways and are the most common, accounting for 84% of strokes.
    Hemorrhagic stroke is a second type of stroke which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks or ruptures. While these stroke are less common, they are more deadly.

    Brain Attack

    The term “Brain Attack” gives stroke the most descriptive, realistic and powerful call to action. A brain attack should warrant the same degree of seriousness and emergency care as a heart attack. After all, your brain is your body’s most vital and delicate organ.Immediate response is crucial because every minute lost, from the onset of symptoms to the time of emergency contact, cuts into the limited window of opportunity for intervention.

    CALL 911 for immediate assistance.
    Treatment is available and is most effective if administered within the first three hours of experiencing symptoms.
    Your chances of walking out of the hospital with little to no disability are improved by 30 percent if you receive t-PA, the only FDA-approved stroke treatment available.

    Know these stroke facts:

  • Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability. Over the course of a lifetime, four out of every five American families will be touched by stroke.
  • There are ways to reduce your risk for stroke- (see below)
  • Every 45 seconds someone suffers a stroke, every 3 minutes someone dies from a stroke.
  • Twice as many women die from stroke every year than from breast cancer.

The most common stroke symptoms are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you see someone having these symptoms or experience any of these symptoms yourself, call 911 immediately. Treatment can be more effective if given quickly. Every minute counts.

Common misperceptions of stroke…

Stroke is not preventable
Stroke cannot be treated
Stroke only strikes the elderly
Stroke recovery ends after the event/initial trauma to the brain

Realities of stroke are:
Stroke is largely preventable.
Stroke requires emergency treatment. Call 911 immediately if you experience or see someone with stroke symptoms.
Anyone of any age can have a stroke.
Stroke is a “Brain Attack”
Stroke recovery can continue throughout life.

Stroke Prevention Guidelines:

1. Know your blood pressure. Have it checked at least annually. If it’s elevated, work with your doctor to keep it under control. Having high blood pressure, or hypertension, increases stroke risk four to six times.2. Find out if you have atrial fibrillation – a type or irregular heartbeat. If left untreated, AF can increase stroke risk four to six times.

3. If you smoke, stop. Smoking doubles stroke risk.

4. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Recent studies have suggested that modest alcohol consumption (up to two glasses of wine or alcohol equivalent) may reduce stroke risk.

5. Find out if you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol can indirectly increase stroke risk by putting people at greater risk of heart disease.

6. If you’re diabetic, follow your doctor’s recommendation carefully to control your diabetes. People with diabetes have a higher stroke risk. This may be due to circulation problems that diabetes can cause.

7. Include exercise in the activities you enjoy in your daily routine. Active people tend to have lower cholesterol levels. Regular exercise also seems to slow down or stop the clogging of blood vessels by deposits.

8. Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet. Too much salt may contribute to high blood pressure and make it more difficult to control. A diet that’s low in fat will likely include vegetables, lean meats such as chicken and fish, low-fat dairy products and a limited number of eggs.

9. Ask your doctor if you have circulation problems which increase your risk for stroke.

10. If you experience any stroke symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. CALL 911! Every minute counts!

Source:National Stroke Association’s Prevention Advisory Board Stroke Prevention Guidelines.

Resources:National Stroke Association (NSA) Hotline:1-800-STROKES and web site WWW.STROKE.ORG — provides stroke statistics, information and resources
Offers print and audio-visual material on stroke prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.


Know-stroke also means know your diet and how to improve it to reduce stroke risk- Here’s how to get better nutrition grades
Every May is National Stroke Awareness Month.