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Stroke Awareness
updated: Dec 08, 2012, 12:00 PM

By David Powdrell

November 30th, 2012

Eight years ago today, I suffered a stroke. The right side of my body morphed into dead weight in a matter of minutes. I lay in a crumpled ball on the floor, unable to move a finger or toe on that side of my body. When the EMT asked me what 2 plus 2 equaled, I didn't know the answer. As a CPA, that was an interesting place to find myself.

The stroke caught me completely by surprise. I was fairly fit, I'd been surfing the day before. I played squash 2 days a week. I ran. I was 49 years old.

Today, on my anniversary date, I'm nearly 100% recovered but I want to remind you of the warning signs of having a stroke and to take precautions to prevent a stroke from happening to you or a loved one. The road to recovery is long, it's incredibly hard work and it's brutally expensive. To the extent possible, stay healthy.

There's a great little acronym to help identify the signs of a stroke: The acronym is FAST.

F = If one side of the FACE is droopy or the smile is uneven, that's a sign of a possible stroke.
A = Raise both ARMS. If one arm hangs lower, that's a sign of a possible stroke.
S = If the SPEECH is slurred, this could be a sign of a stroke in progress.
T = TIME! Time is critical for optimum recovery. Call 911 immediately.

Controllable factors include watching your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, keeping an eye on your weight, quit smoking and keep alcohol levels in check.

The National Stroke Association is a wealth of great information. If you want to learn more about the controllable and uncontrollable risk factors, warning signs and recovery tips, check out www.stroke.org

Wishing you all good health.

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