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Fit And Well Idaho: Stroke Awareness

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By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Strokes are affecting younger people worldwide.

Rates have increased 25 percent for ages 20 to 64 from 1990 to 2010, according to a study published in The Lancet.

In this week's Fit and Well Idaho, we're exploring the signs and symptoms of having a stroke, and to make it easier to remember, just think of the acronym, FAST.

"F stands for Face, so any facial drooping, facial numbness. The A stands for arm weakness. Often times, we have patients tell us I can't grip things, my arm isn't working right, my arm feels like things... S stands for speech, so any kind of slurred speech, abnormal speech. T in the acronym FAST stands for time, so time is brain. Every second that goes by, this person is losing brain cells while they're stroking," explained Stephanie Shawver, RN and Stroke Coordinator.

One thing to remember is you don't have to have all of the signs. Even one stands for a stroke.

"If you see the signs and symptoms of a stroke, it's not something that is going to go away or get better. Immediate medical treatment is required. There are a lot of interventions that we can offer for acute stroke. Unfortunately they're very time-limited," Shawver said.

And when experiencing a stroke, you're putting your life in danger when you try to drive yourself to the hospital.

"Stroke, especially in acute stages when it's evolving and happening to that person, they could become unstable very quickly so your best bet is to call 911. We have built a stroke program that these patients receive from EMS. That first 911 call through a discharge patient unit, or home and everything along the way, so we're looking to become a certified stroke center ad survey this winter to earn that certification," Shawver adds.