Learn to Spot a Stroke F-A-S-T

When seconds count identifying a stroke F.A.S.T. could be the key to saving someone’s life. When you can spot the signs of a stroke, you’ll know quickly that you need to call 9-1-1 for help. This is important because the sooner a stroke victim gets to the hospital, the sooner they’ll get treatment. And that can make a remarkable difference in their recovery. F.A.S.T. is:

  • Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 911 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

If you think someone is having a stroke immediately call 9-1-1 or the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number so an ambulance can be sent. Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. A clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may improve the chances of getting better but only if you get them help right away. A TIA or transient ischemic attack is a “warning stroke” or “mini-stroke” that produces stroke-like symptoms. TIA symptoms usually only last a few minutes but, if left untreated, people who have TIAs have a high risk of stroke. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce the risk of a major stroke.

Beyond F.A.S.T., other stroke symptoms can include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

+ When seconds count, can you spot a stroke? Take the American Heart Association’s quiz!

+ Learn about Stroke Care in Hampton Roads.

Today is World Stroke Day
In the United States, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and someone dies of a stroke every three to four minutes. Stroke is preventable, treatable and beatable. The American Stroke Association offers tools and resources help stroke survivors and their families make the most of their lives. World Stroke Day is an opportunity for the American Heart Association to raise awareness about stroke and stroke risk. To learn more about your personal stroke risk, we recommend you take the interactive quiz on the PowerToEndStroke.com.

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