Don’t Ignore the Stroke Signs: Knowing BE FAST Can Save Lives

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While strokes are a serious health risk for both men and women, recent studies have shown that women may face a greater risk of stroke. Women have unique risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure during pregnancy, use of certain types of birth control medicine (especially smokers) and higher rates of depression. Understanding the warning signs of stroke is crucial for women and men alike and one tool that can help identify the signs of a stroke quickly is the BE FAST acronym. May is stroke awareness month and the HealthONE Swedish Neuro Network is here to provide care across the metro when seconds count. At the core of the HealthONE Swedish Neuro Network is the Joint Commission Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center at Swedish Medical Center. The team wants everyone to understand how to BE FAST to preserve life and brain function.  

If you or someone around you suddenly experiences a loss of balance or coordination, it could be a warning sign of a stroke. This symptom can be particularly important to recognize in the elderly, as falls due to balance issues are a significant concern.

Sudden blurred or double vision, or a loss of vision in one or both eyes, can occur during a stroke.

If one side of the face suddenly droops or appears to be paralyzed, it could be because a stroke is causing damage to the nerves that control facial muscles.

Sudden weakness or numbness in one arm or leg can be a sign of a stroke. This symptom occurs as a stroke damages nerves that control movement and sensation.

If someone suddenly has trouble speaking, slurred speech, or difficulty understanding speech, it could be a sign of a stroke.

If you or someone around you experiences any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 as quickly as possible. The sooner treatment is administered, the better the chances of recovery.

Hospital emergency, medical staff pushing patient on gurney.

During a stroke, every minute counts.

The HealthONE Stroke Alert Program expedites care for stroke patients. It involves EMS providers notifying the hospital’s team members at the first warning of a patient’s pending arrival. Once the hospital is informed a suspected stroke patient is on the way, an alert notification goes out to the designated stroke team. This includes the neurologist, the computed tomography (CT) scan technicians and lab personnel. Together, they assure the scanning room is ready and they can act quickly to diagnose and treat the patient when they arrive.

It’s essential to note that not all stroke symptoms are the same, and some people may experience different symptoms or none at all. However, knowing the BE FAST stroke warning signs can help you recognize the most common symptoms of a stroke quickly.

Getting the person suffering a stroke to a hospital emergency room is crucial. These HealthONE ERs across the metro are a part of the Swedish Neuro Network; Rose Medical Center, The Medical Center of Aurora, Sky Ridge Medical Center, North Suburban Medical Center and Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center. Go to to find an ER near you. Or click here for more information on the Swedish Neuro Network of care.

If you or someone you know is suffering from stroke symptoms, don’t wait; call 911 immediately.

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