Wellness Words May 2015

Wellness Words May 2015

HealthLink Littauer’s


Submitted by Wendy Chirieleison, MS Ed

Community Health Educator

Do You Know The Signs Of A Stroke?  Think F.A.S.T.!

May is American Stroke Month, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s annual campaign to increase awareness of warning signs, and what to do should you or someone you know have a stroke.

Stroke is the number four cause of death and leading cause of disability in the U.S.  Many Americans do not think of stroke as a major health concern, even though every forty seconds someone in America has a stroke. The damaging effects of a stroke may be prevented if you know how to act upon the warning signs. Thinking F.A.S.T. can mean the difference between recovery and disability, or even death!


A stroke happens when a blood vessel is blocked or bursts and blood flow to the brain is stopped. Within just a few minutes of a stroke, brain cells begin to die. The most common sign of stroke is sudden weakness of the face, arm or leg, most often on one side of the body.

Other warning signs include:

  • Sudden numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.


F.A.S.T. is an acronym used to help people recognize and remember the common stroke symptoms:


Ask the person to smile.  Does one side of the face or mouth droop?


Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one drift downward?


Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, such as ‘the sky is blue.’

Does the speech sound slurred or strange?


If you observe any of these signs, it is time to Call 911!


  • Know your numbers – Check your blood pressure regularly and talk to your doctor about your progress.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Get plenty of exercise and eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while limiting salt and foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Keep diabetes under control with a proper diet and medication if necessary.
  • Talk to your doctor before making any diet and/or exercise changes.
  • Quit smoking – Need help?  Call the NYS Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit nysmokefree.com
  • Keep your total cholesterol below 200.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.

REMEMBER…A stroke is mostly preventable and treatable.  Knowing the risks and thinking F.A.S.T are important, but taking steps to prevent a stroke are just as important.

For more information, visit strokeassociation.org, contact your healthcare provider or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120.  You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our NEW wellness center at 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.

Wellness Words May 2010

HealthLink Littauer’s


Submitted by Sue Cridland RN BSN

Director of Community Education


Time to learn more about what to do when a stroke occurs and what causes this medical emergency!

If you think someone is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. The victim may die or become disabled if you wait to see if the symptoms go away.

During a stroke, a person’s brain is suddenly cut off from blood, its source of nutrition, by a blood clot or a broken blood vessel. Without oxygen and nutrients, the brain cannot function properly and starts to die. It is critical that victims receive treatment within three hours of the onset of any symptom to reduce the risk of permanent damage.

Every 45 seconds, someone suffers a stroke nationally. In 2007, New York State had 5,822 deaths due to this disease of the circulatory system. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in New York and the leading cause of long-term disability.

Unlike a heart attack, the symptoms of a stroke are often uncomfortable but not terribly painful. Someone who is having a stroke may suddenly feel confused. He or she may have trouble speaking or understanding others. His or her face, arm, leg or one side of the body may feel weak or numb. In addition, stroke victims may have trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, or they may have trouble walking (dizziness, loss of balance or coordination). A stroke victim might also have a sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

To recall the most common warning signs of a stroke, think “FAST”

F – sudden drooping of the FACE on one side

A – sudden weakness in one ARM

S – sudden slurring of SPEECH

T – TIME to call 9-1-1

It is important to know how to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. To prevent a stroke, get a regular checkup, make healthy food choices, control your weight and blood pressure, and be physically active on all or most days of the week.

Remember, you are at greater risk of having a stroke if you are 55 or older, have a family history of stroke, have high blood pressure, smoke, have diabetes, or have heart or vascular disease.

For more information on stroke, visit www.StrokeAssociation.org or the New York State Department of Health website at www.nyhealth.gov. You may also call HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120, e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at www.nlh.org, or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.