PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers from a stroke. Every 4 minutes, someone dies from one. That fatality rate is extremely high, but some fatalities can be prevented, if caught in time.
That's why the Portland Fire Department is joining first responders across the country in helping raise awareness on ways to detect signs of a stroke, before the stroke causes too much damage to the brain. The month of May is Stroke Awareness month, and this week is "EMS Week."
Portland EMS is using the acronym: "FAST"...something they hope is easy for stroke patients to remember as the symptoms begin. "F" stands for "face." Others may notice something is wrong with the stroke victim's face, or the stroke victim may feel drooping on either side. "A" is "arms." A symptom of a stroke is not being able to raise one or both arms straight out in front of you. "S" is "speech," meaning stroke victims often have difficulty speaking or understanding others when they speak. Last, the "T" stands for "time." The first three hours into a stroke can mean life or death for a patient. It's the most crucial window of time when first responders can treat the symptoms before they escalate and too much damage is caused to the brain. That's also why the Portland Fire Department is calling stroke awareness: "Time is Brain."
If you want to learn more about signs of a stroke or who may be more at risk of having a stroke, check out www.strokeawareness.com.