Every second counts when it comes to getting speedy treatment for a stroke. Immediate attention makes a remarkable difference in survival and recovery. During a stroke, blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Recognizing the symptoms is key to knowing if someone is having a stroke. Doctors have an easy way for you to remember to act "fast." A one-minute delay in being treated for stroke could cost you two million brain cells, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians. Knowing the symptoms of stroke can make the difference between life and death. Keith Sanders, M.D. is a neurologist at St. Joseph's Hospital. He said, "The standard stroke symptoms usually aren't subtle and the key thing is that they occur quickly." Doctors are trying to help you remember the symptoms using the acronym "FAST" – face, arm, speech, time. Sanders said, "Looking for asymmetry or weakness on one side of the face." Sanders said, "Having the patient hold up their arms -- usually when there's a stroke, there's weakness on one side." Sanders said, "Speech: asking the patient if they can understand you and then asking them to repeat a simple phrase." Time, or calling 911 and getting to a hospital quickly if the symptoms don't disappear within a couple of minutes is the last important reminder on the list. Sanders said, "Studies have clearly shown that the patients who are treated the fastest have the best outcome." The longer you wait, Dr. Sanders explains, the higher the risk of permanent disability or even death.
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