INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Winifred Yost is a testament to the knowledge that knowing the symptoms of stroke could save your life.
At the age of 94 and weighing just 80 pounds, she survived a stroke a little over a month ago.
“I was sitting at the dinner table with my son, and he was asking me a couple of questions and I couldn’t hear what I was saying. I took a bite of food and it just came out, all over everything,” she said.
Stroke is sometimes referred to as a brain attack. It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. When this occurs, brain cells are cut off from oxygen and begin to die.When those cells die, abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as memory and muscle control, are lost.
Yost's son recognized his mother was having the symptoms of a stroke, so he called an ambulance.
“We were there in about a half hour and they started working on me right away and I think that really made a difference.”
Each year, nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. Data shows they happen every 40 seconds. Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S. If caught early, patients can survive.
Yost and her son did everything right. She received treatment quickly. Karen Gross, the rehabilitation director of Allisonville Meadows says everyone should know and understand the importance of the acronym FAST to get the best outcome from a stroke.
"F" means facial droop. If a patient, like Yost, experiences a slight droop at the corner of the mouth, that’s a sign of stroke.
"A" stands for arm weakness. There may be a tingling sensation as well as not being able to raise up one’s arm.
"S" is for slurred speech, And "T" stands for time.
“You want to get to the hospital as soon as you can, to get treatment,” said Gross.
There are different kinds of strokes. Ischemic is when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. Tia stands for transient ischemic attack. That’s when blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short period of time.
Once Yost was stabilized in the hospital, she was enrolled in the rehab services at Allisonville Meadows, where she worked on regaining her strength.
"I do therapy two or three times a day and I like it very much,” said Yost.
For more information on strokes, click here.