What are the symptoms of a stroke? The acronym FAST seeks to save lives

Every second is crucial when a person experiences a stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), an emergency medical condition that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted.

Latino adults in the United States face a high risk of suffering a stroke (known as stroke in English) and by 2030, the American Heart Association estimates that the prevalence will increase by 29%. These statistics are further complicated by Hispanics’ limited access to health care, language barriers, and other socioeconomic factors.

Latinos also experience longer times to get to the hospital, compared to non-Hispanic patients, so they tend to have worse after-effects after the episode.

Learn to identify symptoms

That is why the American Stroke Association has launched a campaign in Spanish that seeks to raise awareness among Latinos in the United States and that consists of the use and understanding of the acronym R.Á.PIDO, which can help identify five warning signs of a stroke and is also easy to remember.

If you notice any of these changes in your body, seek help:

R — Fallen face.

TO — Alteration of balance or coordination.

Q — Loss of strength in the arm.

Yo — Sudden visual impairment.

d — Difficulty speaking.

EITHER — Get help, call 911.

“R.Á.PIDO is a tool that can help save lives,” explains Dr. José Biller, chief professor of Neurology at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago and expert volunteer for American Stroke, in a press release. Association. “The language barrier is among the most important to access and quality of health care. “We believe the acronym addresses the time barrier, increases awareness of stroke, and improves outcomes for everyone.”

The acronym FAST was developed by a group of stroke experts at UTHealth in Houston. The Association conducted scientific research to test the effectiveness of the acronym among Latinos who speak only or predominantly Spanish, taking into account that there is already an acronym in English that has been shown to be effective: FAST

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“It reminds people what to look for and invites them to ‘act fast’ in the event of their own or someone else’s stroke. These symptoms are sudden and must be recognized quickly so that the person receives appropriate treatment as soon as possible,” Jennifer Beauchamp, associate professor at the Cizik School of Nursing and the Stroke and Stroke Institute at UTHealth Houston, explained in the same statement.

“My body was telling me something was wrong.”

If anyone knows the importance of recognizing those signs, it’s Noelia Gutierrez, who survived a stroke six years ago. “I experienced symptoms that were unusual for me,” she recalls in an interview with Noticias Telemundo. “I suddenly started having seizures and found myself in a hospital ward recovering from the shock that I had had a stroke at the age of 29.”

Noelia Gutierrez, stroke survivor, with her husband and one of her daughters.NICK GARCIA – American Heart Association

It all happened eight days after giving birth to her daughter: she was in the middle of postpartum. “My ignorance was so great that I thought that this could only happen to someone older and that it didn’t happen to people in my (age) group. I was very wrong about that,” she says.

Despite being a nurse, Gutierrez did not recognize what was happening to her: “I had felt an intense headache and a very sudden heat in my body… I knew something was wrong, but my mind never thought about a stroke. I never thought “That’s it. I thought what had happened to me was bad.”

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That’s why he now believes that the acronym FAST is going to make a difference. “It’s going to be a before and after”, he assures. “If they learn it, they will be aware of the symptoms and think, ‘Something is wrong. I have to call 911. I have to get help as soon as possible.'”

“We Hispanics are hard-working people. They have taught us what hard work is, to take care of our families… But sometimes we leave health as a second course. And it is necessary that we take care of what is as valuable as our body, which is what we use daily to provide for our family. So that acronym is for it to change your life, so that they can identify with something and recognize it and save you,” he concludes.