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Community Advocacy Organization

Stroke Awareness, Think F.A.S.T.

Courtesy Photo-The Joint Commission

Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and a leading cause of disability. Strokes are caused when a blood vessel bursts or is blocked, which leads to a lack of oxygen, killing brain cells. When it comes to stroke care, quicker medical attention can lead to significantly better outcomes. If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T.

F.A.S.T is an acronym designed to increase awareness and responsiveness to strokes. If the following traits of a stroke are recognized and emergency services are called immediately, the damage and effects of a stroke can be minimized.

Facial drooping: One side of the face droops and is hard to move. It is often presented as a “crooked smile.”

Arm weakness: The arm is unable to be raised to, or close to, its normal full extension.

Speech difficulties: Speech becomes difficult to produce or understand.

Time: If someone is presenting with any of the symptoms above are showing, call the emergency services immediately or go directly to the hospital.

McLaren Greater Lansing has been working to care for the area’s stroke patients and last summer was designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. McLaren was previously certified through HFAP, but has switched to the Joint Commission for uniformity and to align with other McLaren hospitals throughout Michigan. In collaboration with the American Stroke Association, the Joint Commission gives Certificates of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers to: “…centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care. Achievement of certification signifies that the services you provide have the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes.”

This certification means McLaren has met core measures set forth by the Joint Commission and, among other things, is Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) capable. When given to qualifying patients, tPA can saves lives and reduces the long-term effects of a stroke. It works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow.

For more information on strokes and stroke care visit

About McLaren Greater Lansing

McLaren Greater Lansing and McLaren Orthopedic Hospital operate the region’s most distinguished cardiovascular and orthopedic surgery programs that—together with McLaren Greater Lansing’s oncology, women’s care and wide-ranging diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical services—consistently lead in clinical quality and efficiency. The hospitals are part of McLaren Health Care, mid-Michigan’s largest health care system. Visit

About McLaren Health Care

McLaren Health Care, headquartered in Flint, Michigan, is a fully integrated health network committed to quality evidence-based patient care and cost efficiency. The McLaren system includes 12 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, the state’s only proton therapy center, an employed primary care physician network, commercial and Medicaid HMOs covering more than 250,000 lives, home health and hospice providers, retail medical equipment showrooms, pharmacy services, and a wholly owned medical malpractice insurance company. McLaren operates Michigan’s largest network of cancer centers and providers, anchored by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of only 45 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive centers in the U.S. McLaren has 22,000 employees and more than 40,000 network providers. Its operations are housed in more than 350 facilities serving the entire Lower Peninsula of the state of Michigan along with a portion of the Upper Peninsula. Learn more at

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