Photo Credit: Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada

By Mallorie Rast

This past week, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a partnering with the Heart & Stroke Foundation by contributing $50,000 towards the foundation’s public awareness program, FAST.

“We are grateful for the support of the Government of Saskatchewan for our FAST campaign and are thrilled that it will continue for another year.” Heart and Stroke Director of Health Promotion and Stakeholder Relations Stephanie Rusu said.

The thrust of FAST is towards educating the general public on the common signs of stroke, and prompting faster responses to a stroke event by calling 9-1-1. FAST is a dual acronym, first of all standing for three common stroke signs and second, encourages bystanders to act quickly:

Face – is it drooping?
Arms – can the victim only raise one?
Speech – is it slurred or jumbled?
Time – time to call 9-1-1 if you answer yes to any of the above

Rusu reminds the public that, “ignoring the signs of a stroke and failing to call 911 can have dire consequences including greater disability or death.”

Additional signs or symptoms include sudden numbness, confusion, difficulty walking, difficulty seeing and all of the above are accompanied by a severe headache.

A stroke is a medical emergency and an individual experiencing a stroke should never drive themselves to the hospital. Rather than members of the public driving a stroke sufferer to the hospital, the Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends immediate treatment by emergency workers to lessen brain damage and increase the probability of survival.

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