SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — During National Stroke Awareness Month, those at Upstate University Hospital have a new message and a new acronym to help people spot strokes faster.
“Stroke can hit fast. It can hit like a ton of bricks without warning,” said Assistant Professor of Neurology, Dr. Devin Burke.
Every second counts, which is why the long-standing acronym to spot a stroke is FAST: face, arm, speech, time to call 911.
Now, Upstate is adding the letters E and D for eyes and dizziness. Dr. Burke says these types of strokes can be hard to spot but just as debilitating.
“If you have a sudden visual loss that could be a stroke. Anytime you feel unsteady on your feet, or the room spinning, dizziness, that can also be a sign of a stroke depending on the location of the brain.”
They want everyone to be thinking about vision and dizziness too, which is why the new letters aren’t just top of mind inside the walls of the hospital.
Upstate is working with area ambulance companies to make sure EMTs are thinking ED too.
“A stroke that has gone on for an hour, you can lose the same amount of neurons that you would in four years of natural aging,” warned Burke. “In partnering with the ambulance crews it helps us facilitate swifter, more effective treatment, which overall leads to a better patient outcome.”
If you or someone you know thinks they may be having a stroke, Burke says you should call 911 immediately.