Act FAST: Signs of a Stroke

Stroke kills nearly 130,000 people in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Knowing the early warning signs and symptoms of a stroke can save your life or the life of someone you love. People who go to an Emergency Department within three hours of a stroke are less likely to suffer a disability three months after the event.

The National Stroke Association suggests you act FAST if you think someone is having a stroke. FAST is an acronym for Face, Arms, Speech and Time.

Face: Ask the person to smile. Look for drooping on one side of the face.

Arms: Ask the individual to raise his arms. Look for one arm that drifts downward.

Speech: Determine if his or her speech seems slurred by asking them to repeat a phrase.

Time: Do not delay – call 9-1-1 immediately if you see these symptoms in yourself or someone else.

Stroke may cause other symptoms that appear suddenly. Symptoms might include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially when it occurs on one side of the body. Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, and trouble seeing out of one or both eyes can occur suddenly after stroke. Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, poor balance or coordination, and sudden, severe headache with no known cause are also signs of stroke.

Act FAST and call 9-1-1 at the first signs of a stroke, even if you are not sure someone is having one. You could save a life or prevent major disability in yourself or someone you care for. Talk to your non-medical home care provider to learn more about recognizing, preventing and responding to stroke.