Sep 15

Working FAST for Stroke Prevention

Springwell is pleased to be participating in a stroke awareness project funded by Mount Auburn Hospital Community Health Department. Mount Auburn, along with five other Massachusetts hospitals, is part of a pilot program to improve emergency stroke care and outcomes. Springwell is one of several community partners who received a grant from MAH to help spread the word about stroke warning signs in the communities of Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Somerville, Waltham, and Watertown.

What is a stroke? A stroke occurs when one of the blood vessels that carries blood to the brain is blocked or bursts. If that part of the brain does not get the blood it needs, brain cells die. To help prevent this from happening, it is important to know the signs using F.A.S.T.:

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a single phrase. Is their speech slurred or does it sound strange?
Time: If you observe one or more of these symptoms or notice them in someone else, even for a short time, call 9-1-1 immediately!
While the F.A.S.T. message does not include all potential stroke symptoms, it is easy to remember and it emphasizes the quick action needed to save lives and prevent severe disability. Springwell will be distributing F.A.S.T. during September and October to hundreds of seniors, Springwell staff and volunteers, and Springwell’s online community.

A stroke can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of their age, but the risk can be reduced by practicing healthy habits, such as monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels, avoiding tobacco use, limiting salt intake and eating more fruits and vegetables, and exercising on a regular basis. If you are interested in learning more about stroke symptoms or prevention, visit