Know the Signs of a Stroke

Health & Well Being

According to the National Institute on Aging, a stroke happens when blood cannot reach a part of the brain, which deprives brain cells of oxygen and nutrients.

Recognizing the signs and immediately calling 911 increases the chances of a successful recovery. The longer that someone is suffering from a stroke, the greater their chance of disability or death. The sooner you get help, the greater your chance of a normal recovery.

In an effort to help identify the symptoms of a stroke, the American Stroke Association has created the helpful acronym F.A.S.T as a guide to help remember the most common signs and indicators. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can happen suddenly.

F.A.S.T. stands for:

  • F—Face drooping. Ask the person to smile. Look for drooping on one side of the face.
  • A—Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms to the same height. One arm may drift downward or not rise at all.
  • S—Speech. Ask the person to speak. Listen for slurred or incomprehensible speech.
  • T—Time to call 911. When activating emergency medical services, note the time symptoms started and other possible signs of stroke.

Other symptoms of stroke may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Sudden change of consciousness, such as fainting, confusion or seizures.
  • Sudden loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache.
  • Sudden trouble understanding simple statements.
  • Sudden vision impairments, such as double vision.

A stroke occurs every 40 seconds in the U.S. Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and calling 911 immediately can make a significant difference in treatment options and recovery outcomes.