Aaron Fabel

Aaron Fabel

Years ago I had an eye opening experience with a friend’s health. To make a long story short, we were both convinced that he was having a stroke as he was displaying all of the typical signs and symptoms. He ended up having what is called a Hemiplegic migraine, but was still enough to act fast and assume worst case scenario. Now I have seen my fair share of sports injuries and other illnesses. There is a reason we are told we should never stop learning, because you never know when you may need that information. If someone is experiencing a stroke you need to act FAST. Here is a quick and easy way to assess if someone may be having a stroke. Currently, strokes are the 5th leading cause of death in the United States. And—Although Stroke Can Cause Permanent Neurological Damage, Complications, And Death If Not Promptly Diagnosed And Treated—People Survive Them And Live Normal Lives.

F: FACE

The first thing that may stand out if someone is experiencing a stroke is their face. When they smile their face may look uneven. One side may look normal while the other side is either frozen or have droop to it. Another thing that can occur is with their vision. They may say that they are having blurred vision or having trouble reading. An easy way to check all of this is simply asking them to smile. Right away you will know if something isn’t right.

A: ARM & LEG

Another way to determine if someone is experiencing a stroke is if they are experiencing numbness in their arms or legs. They may also feel week and have difficulty walking as well. A simple test for this part is asking them to raise their arms above their head. Chances are, if they are having a stroke they will be able to raise one arm above their head, typically this is their left arm. While the other arm may only make it half way.

S: SPEECH

The next part in this sequence has to do with how they are communicating. If they are having a stroke, their speech can be slurred and also be using words that don’t make any sense. Even if they are having trouble speaking, they may be fully aware that they are not talking right, but they cannot do anything about it. A great way to determine if their speech is impaired is by asking questions where you get more than a yes or no answer.

T: TIME

With all of this being said, the most important part of all of this is time. The longer it takes for medical attention, the more dangerous the outcome can be. If you think you or someone you know starts to experience any of these symptoms, call 911. It is always better to call and have it be nothing, than not to call and have it be something serious.

Believe it or not strokes are 80% preventable through healthy lifestyle changes. I can’t stress enough about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, even if you don’t think you need it. The bottom line is that these things can be prevented by living a better, healthier lifestyle. You may not think you need it now, but your future self will thank you.

Aaron Fabel, B.A in Exercise Science and Wellness, is the CEO at the Oahe Family YMCA. He can be reached by email at ajfabel@oaheymca.org

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