Did you know, that every 40 seconds, a stroke occurs in the United States, and Ad Council research shows that 28% of Americans would not recognize the signs?
The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA) have joined with the Ad Council to launch their first national multimedia public service campaign to not only educate, but bring awareness to the masses about F.A.S.T., an acronym for recognizing and responding to the sometimes sudden signs of stroke.
To do this, a national TV and radio ad campaign along with the F.A.S.T. infographic shown in the pictures contained in the photo gallery that accompanies this article hopefully will raise awareness and help many people.
Also, thanks to the AHA and ASA, I have a powerful survivor story from actor Kevin Sorbo, who is a stroke survivor.
Also from the AHA and ASA:
Face Drooping - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
Arm Weakness - Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech Difficulty - Is speech slurred? Is he or she unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to call 911 - If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get him or her to the hospital immediately.
Time is critical when you think someone may be having a stroke. F.A.S.T. is an acronym that can help people to spot a stroke quickly, so that they can get the medical help needed as soon as possible. The quicker a person gets to a hospital, the quicker you can potentially get critical treatment that may reduce disability and death.
If we all learn the warning signs and act F.A.S.T., we can help reduce death and disability from stroke.
A personal and inspirational tale from Kevin Sorbo:
Actor Kevin Sorbo is best known for his television portrayal of Hercules, a muscle-bound hero who battles the forces of evil. But almost no one knew he was also waging a secret battle – on and off the set – after an aneurysm and a series of strokes left him partially blind and with nearly debilitating dizziness, nausea and weakness when he was only 38 years old.
After being treated by a neurologist, it was determined Sorbo had had an aneurysm and three strokes. However, the precise cause of the strokes remains unknown. Weeks after being released from the hospital, Sorbo experienced continuing vision problems and overwhelming fatigue. Sorbo's hours on the set of Hercules, the most-watched television show at the time, were limited, and Sorbo's production studio carefully concealed his condition by bringing on guest stars and rewriting scripts to work around Sorbo's limitations.
Today, Sorbo has regained his health, although he still experiences residual arm pain from the circulation loss and nerve damage, the occasional migraine and a 10-percent blind spot with his vision. Still, he has resumed his active lifestyle, received critical acclaim for his recent film Soul Surfer, has several movies in post-production and is working on a television pilot.
Sorbo is known for his strength and being bigger than life. He is now serving as an advocate for F.A.S.T. and will serve as spokesperson for World Stroke Day on October 29th. It may be his most important role.