The National Stroke Association recommends using the “FAST” acronym to quickly recognize stroke symptoms in others and get help:
- FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
- TIME: If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 9-1-1.
The most common signs and symptoms of stroke include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden, severe headache.
Some risk factors may be out of your control, but being aware of your risk will help you better understand the warning signs of stroke and get help faster. If your risks fall in the “controllable” category, making healthy lifestyle changes and focusing on diet and exercise can greatly decrease your risk. If you have concerns about your stroke risk, feel free to openly discuss them with your primary care physician.
To learn more about stroke, visit www.gbmc.org/stroke.