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Spot signs of stroke on virtual calls

There could be an added health benefit to connecting with loved ones through a screen
Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 2:36 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - As people have used virtual platforms to connect with loved ones through the COVID-19 pandemic, there could be an added health benefit of spotting the signs of a stroke.

Cardiologist Dr. Brian Wiseman and medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at University of Tennessee Medical Center said following the acronym B.E. F.A.S.T. can help spot the signs of a stroke.

B - Balance difficulty

E - Eyes, vision loss

F - Face drooping

A-Arm weakness

S - Speech difficulty

T - Time to call 911

Dr. Wiseman said signs of a stroke happen abruptly and to call for help if the person on the other side of the screen has demonstrated the signals listed above.

“When you’re talking to someone you can recognize their speech. If their speech becomes slurred or jumbled or doesn’t make sense or you can tell that they’re not understanding what your saying, I think that would be one of the first things you would probably recognize. If they have a little bit of facial weakness in one corner of their mouth starts to droop that along with slurred speech, that would be another symptom. And then you can start digging into, ‘okay hold your arms up for me,’ and if one arm sort of slumped down, or they can’t lift it, then that would be another clue and at that point I would say okay, dialing 911 is the right thing to do. If it’s more subtle than you can say ‘okay, are you having balance difficulty, do you feel dizzy, when did this start?’ I think that’s the other key thing is, when did you notice these symptoms come on, that’s very important to us as practitioners, we need to know when this started or when, when, when was the person last well, and that’s what we kind of try to dig into when, when people get here. So I think those are some of the things that you can you can recognize right off the bat. And you can ask people to repeat a phrase. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and that kind of gives you a good test and reinforces okay that something’s not right here, we need to get help,” said Dr. Wiseman.

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