F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away.
– 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 9-1-1 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.
A stroke is a medical emergency. Strokes happen when blood flow to your brain stops. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. There are two kinds of stroke. The more common kind, called ischemic stroke, is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain. The other kind, called hemorrhagic stroke, is caused by a blood vessel that breaks and bleeds into the brain. “Mini-strokes” or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), occur when the blood supply to the brain is briefly interrupted.
Symptoms of stroke are
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- 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 you have any of these symptoms, you must get to a hospital quickly to begin treatment. Acute stroke therapies try to stop a stroke while it is happening by quickly dissolving the blood clot or by stopping the bleeding.