New national PSA campaign launched to help bystanders recognize and respond to warning signs of stroke F.A.S.T.

January 28, 2013, American Heart Association

Every 40 seconds a stroke occurs in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. To raise awareness about F.A.S.T.—an acronym to recognize and respond to the sudden warning signs of stroke, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and Ad Council are unveiling a new, national multimedia public service advertisement (PSA) campaign.

F.A.S.T. is designed to help spot a stroke fast because the quicker a stroke victim receives , the greater his or her chances of survival and a better recovery. F.A.S.T. stands for:

  • Face Drooping - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness - Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty - Is speech slurred? Are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like: "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1 - If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
The American Stroke Association, which is a division of the American Heart Association, reports that the quicker a gets to a hospital, the quicker he or she can be assessed for a clot-busting drug that may reduce disability and death from stroke. According to a recent conducted by the Ad Council, 28 percent of Americans did not know any stroke or symptoms. Most notably, the survey showed that 46 percent of participants were not confident that they knew what to do if they, or someone they were with, felt (or exhibited) symptoms of stroke.

The new television, radio, print, outdoor and Web PSAs were created pro bono by advertising agency Grey New York, and communicate that body language can signal that someone's having a stroke. Through the PSAs, audiences are directed to visit www.strokeassociation.org for more information and to learn how to spot a stroke fast.

Rob Baiocco, executive vice president, executive creative director of Grey New York said, "We are all fluent in body language. We speak it all day, every day. We want to add the language of stroke to everyone's vocabulary, so they can spot one fast, and help save a life."

"Stroke is the No. 4 killer of all Americans and the No. 1 preventable cause of disability. When you recognize a stroke and act fast by calling 9-1-1, you have a greater chance of getting to an appropriate stroke center quickly and improving the outcome." said Ralph L. Sacco, MD, MS, FAHA, FAAN, chairman of Neurology and executive director, McKnight Brain Institute; chief of Neurology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, and Jackson Memorial Hospital, and past president of the /American Stroke Association. "Because stroke is so prevalent in America, everyone needs to know the warning signs. The F.A.S.T acronym is a great tool to help people to easily recognize strokes and to act quickly."

"We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with the American Stroke Association to raise awareness of stroke warning signs through F.A.S.T.," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "Time is critical when someone is suffering a . F.A.S.T. empowers would-be bystanders to save lives."

Explore further: Depressed stroke survivors may face triple the risk of death

More information: For more information about F.A.S.T, visit strokeassociation.org.

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