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Quick action lessens effects of strokes

About 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That's one stroke every 40 seconds, according to the American Heart Association. Each year, about as many Americans have a stroke as a heart attack. Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Stroke Association.

The focus will be on those statistics in May, which is American Stroke Awareness Month.

Alicia Webster, stroke/STEMI coordinator at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, said STEMI stands for ST elevated myocardial infarction, "a fancy way of saying heart attack."

FAST is the acronym Webster recommends everyone remember to recognize a stroke:

F  Face: Look for an uneven smile, weakness on one side or the other.

A  Arm: Have your loved one hold his or her arms out, holding for 10 seconds. Checking for one limb falling versus the other, or the legs for about five seconds to see if they have any drift or if the person is able to lift them at all.

S  Speech: Look for garbled speech, not making sense or maybe not even being able to get the words out.

T  Time is of the essence. Pick up the phone and call 911 and get the patient to the closest facility that is able to give tPA (tissue plasminogen activator).

The Lawton Constitution

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