Stroke Symptoms: Think 'FAST'

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jun 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 02:31:51-04

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - According to the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, “stroke” recently slipped from the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. to fifth. Health experts say it’s still crucial to ensure people know the signs, which can often be subtle and misleading.

Secily Wilson has made a living with her face and her voice. Ten years ago the 49-year-old Orlando television personality suffered a stroke on-air.

“It was lights, camera, but no action. The words did not come out of my mouth,” Wilson said.

Wilson had just reported on the warning signs of stroke: exhaustion, dizziness, headaches, slurred speech and confusion. She had been feeling all of those and ignoring them.

“I just dismissed each and every one of them simply as you’re just stressed,” Wilson said.
During a stroke, blood to a portion of the brain is usually interrupted.

“That’s why you get numbness or weakness on one side of the body,” said Dr. Evan Allen, a stroke neurologist at Florida Hospital.

Allen said stroke symptoms can be very subtle. He said think “FAST” to identify the warning signs. The “F” is for Face.

“Face refers to the fact that often with stroke, one side of the face will droop,” Allen said.

Arms may feel weak on one side, Speech is slurred and Time is critical. For every four minutes that help is delayed, a patient is 1% less likely to fully recover.

Wilson said she’s making her days count right now as an advocate for the Heart Association, educating others about the signs.

Wilson suffered two additional strokes since her first at age 39. She has recovered from her most recent, which was just a few months ago. She said it’s important to note that she doesn’t have the traditional risk factors of stroke patients; she doesn’t smoke, she’s not overweight and she is physically fit. That’s why she said it’s crucial that people know how to identify the signs and symptoms of stroke.