Act F.A.S.T. to Spot a Stroke

Knowing how to spot a stroke can make all the difference

(RxWiki News) Do you know the signs of a stroke? Knowing the signs and symptoms can make all the difference.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. This month and every month, it's important to know how to spot a stroke.

A stroke happens when the blood flow to a part of the brain is stopped. If the blood flow is interrupted, the brain does not get the nutrients and oxygen it needs.

Spotting a stroke early is important because prompt treatment can minimize brain damage and other complications. See below for information on how to spot a stroke.

Act F.A.S.T. to Spot a Stroke

The acronym F.A.S.T. can help you spot a stroke:

  • F - Stands for face drooping. Does one side of the face droop, or has the person indicated that it is numb? If you are not sure, ask the person to smile.
  • A - Stands for arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? If one arm drifts down when you ask the person to raise both arms, he or she may be having a stroke.
  • S - Stands for speech difficulty. Is the person experiencing slurred speech, unable to speak or being difficult to understand? If you're unsure, ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, such as “The grass is green." Did the person repeat the sentence correctly?
  • T - Stands for time to call 911. If the person shows any of these signs and symptoms, call 911 and get him or her to the nearest hospital immediately. It is important that you still call 911 and get the person to a hospital if the signs and symptoms go away. When you call 911, make sure to say you believe the person may be having a stroke — this may make emergency services get there faster. Do not delay because time is very important. Be sure to list the time you first noticed the symptoms.

If you're not sure whether someone is having a stroke, call 911 anyway.

Other Stroke Signs

If any of the following signs and symptoms are suddenly present, the person may be having a stroke:

  • Numbness or weakness of the leg
  • Confusion or trouble understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness and loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache (with no known cause)

These signs and symptoms may appear on their own or alongside face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty (the signs and symptoms outlined by F.A.S.T). If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, call 911 and get the person to the nearest hospital.

Ask your local pharmacist or doctor any questions you have about strokes and heart health.

Last Updated:
May 16, 2018