Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada, and a leading cause of disability. FAST, which stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time, emphasizes that the quicker you act, the more of the person you save.
Recognizing the signs of stroke and acting quickly can mean the difference between life and death, or between a full recovery and lasting disability.
FAST stands for:
Face – is it drooping?
Arms – can you raise both?
Speech – is it slurred or jumbled?
And Time, to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency service right away and NOT attempt to drive yourself to the hospital.
Stroke is the number three killer of Canadians, and one of the leading causes of disability. There are an estimated 62,000 strokes in Canada each year; that is one every nine minutes. Yet, more than 80 per cent of Canadians who have a stroke and make it to the hospital will survive, with varying degrees of recovery.
“It is so important for everyone to know and recognize the signs of stroke,” says Caterina Kmill, Director of the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).
“The faster you can get to the hospital when experiencing stroke, the better your chances of survival and recovery with little or no disability.” Because brain cells die at a rate of two million per minute after stroke, the sooner normal blood flow can be restored the greater the likelihood of a good outcome.
The Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network is one of 11 regional systems established across the province to implement the Ontario Stroke System. The goal is to improve access to evidence-based prevention and care in order to reduce stroke incidence, mortality, and residual disability. The system seeks to re-organize stroke-care delivery across the continuum of care, promoting system-change, professional education, and public awareness.
The interdisciplinary team at the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network at TBRHSC is committed to providing excellent, evidence-based, and patient-centred care for the people of Northwestern Ontario. Individuals may be referred by an Emergency physician, family physician, specialist, or nurse practitioner.