FAST Is The Way To Spot A Stroke

Resources for Family Caregiver
Although stroke can strike anyone at any age, it's more common in people age 60 and over.

Although stroke can strike anyone at any age, it’s more common in people age 60 and over.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. Deprived of oxygen, brain cells quickly die. Someone who suffers a stroke may lose memories or abilities that are in the affected parts of the brain. Stroke can strike anyone at any age, although it is much more common in people over the age of 60.

It’s important to spot a stroke fast and get help right away. Here’s a helpful way to do it:

Use the letters in “fast” to spot stroke signs and know when to call 9-1-1.

F: Face Drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?

A: Arm Weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S: Speech Difficulty. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the person able to correctly repeat the words?

T: Time To Call 9-1-1. If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and say, “I think this is a stroke” to help get the person to the hospital immediately. Time is important! Don’t delay, and also note the time when the first symptoms appeared. Emergency responders will want to know.

Other symptoms of stroke may include:

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of 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.

For more information on the stroke diagnosis and diagnostic tests, click here.

Courtesy: American Heart Association/American Stroke Association