Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and the leading cause of severe, long-term disability. Someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and there are 795,000 new or recurrent strokes annually.
In the event of a stroke, immediate emergency medical treatment can greatly reduce the risk of brain injury and disability, making a remarkable difference in a victim’s recovery. Yet less than one-third of Americans can correctly identify a single warning sign of stroke.
The Ad Council launched a stroke awareness campaign with the American Stroke Association–a division of the American Heart Association–in April 2003 to educate the public about the sudden signs of stroke, and about the importance of calling 9-1-1 immediately.
In 2013, the Ad Council and the American Stroke Association unveiled the F.A.S.T. campaign, designed to help bystanders recognize signs of stroke—and remind them to respond quickly when they see them.
F.A.S.T. stands for:
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? Are they unable to speak? Are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like: “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
The 2015 PSAs, created by The BAM Connection, feature NBA All-Star Paul George, whose mother suffered a stroke when he was a child. PSAs direct viewers to www.strokeassociation.org to learn more about the consequences and warning signs of stroke. They can also download the Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.app available in English and Spanish from the App Store and Google Play.