Recognizing the signs of a stroke early could save a life.
The acronym FAST is a quick and easy way to remember what to check for, and to get someone who is having a stroke the help they need right away.
Is one side of the face drooping? Is it numb? Ask the person to smile – is their smile uneven or lopsided?
Is one arm weak or numb? Ask them to raise both arms. Are they out of sync or does one arm drift downward?
Is the person having difficulty speaking? Slurred words? Ask them to repeat a simple sentence – for example, “I can say a simple sentence,” or, “Today is Thursday.” Can they repeat it back to you? Are they hard to understand?
If you notice symptoms of a stroke, time is of the essence, so it’s time to call 9-1-1 right away (and note the time the symptoms started to pass on to first responders)! Early intervention is so important for the treatment of strokes.
Other Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke
The acronym FAST is a great guideline, but does not encompass every possible symptom of a stroke. They affect the brain, which means there can be many different symptoms, depending on which part of the brain is affected.
Here are some other symptoms you might see:
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech or written words
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If anyone shows any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.