How To Recognize A Stroke, FAST

Brilliance | Dec. 19, 2017

Strokes are no joke. But, if treated within three hours of symptoms, major disability can be prevented by at least 30 percent. Let's explore four simple tips for recognizing stroke symptoms quickly.

Four Tips To Save A Life

For those of you wondering what, exactly, a stroke is, it's an attack on your brain. Here's the Mayo Clinic's description of the process: "A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die." This could happen due to a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or bursted blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). So yes, it's an emergency. Approximately 795,000 Americans die of a stroke each year, and most are over the age of 65.

But, there is good news! If you learn how to A-C-T fast, you can make a huge difference in a stroke sufferer's recovery. Here's a handy mnemonic device from the National Stroke Association to help you recognize common stroke symptoms:

F, for face: Ask the person to smile. Notice if their smile is uneven, or if one side of their face droops.

A, for arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. See if their arm drops down or if it seems numb, weak, or unsteady.

S, for speech difficulty: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. If their speech is slurred, this is a warning sign.

T, for time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 (or your country's emergency number) immediately.

When In Doubt, Just Act Fast

According to Healthline, you should also look for signs of fainting, weakness, shortness of breath, confusion, behavioral changes, irritation, hallucination, nausea, pain, seizures, and even hiccups. If you're unsure, err on the side of caution and get emergency help. You could save a life.

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