• Act F.A.S.T. to Identify a Stroke in Progress


    If you are talking with someone and that person suddenly begins to behave unusually, you may hesitate to say something. After all, you don’t want to embarrass the other person. But acting F.A.S.T. could help to save his or her life. Certain, sudden changes in behavior may be signs of a stroke. This quick tool from the American Stroke Association can help you identify a stroke in yourself or another person.

    If you notice the symptoms below, dial 9-1-1 immediately and ask that the person be taken to the nearest stroke treatment center. Treating a stroke is a race against time to save brain tissue and potentially the stroke victim’s life. It is better to seek treatment and find out that it is not a stroke than to “wait and see” and risk brain damage or death.

    F.A.S.T. – Signs of Stroke Should Prompt FAST Action

    The American Stroke Association developed this easy-to-remember guide to help identify the signs of a stroke.

    F – Face drooping. Is one side of the person’s face drooping or numb? When he or she smiles, is the smile uneven?
    A – Arm weakness. Is the person experiencing weakness or numbness in one arm? Have the person raise both arms. Does one of the arms drift downward?
    S – Speech difficulty. Is the person’s speech suddenly slurred or hard to understand? Is he or she unable to speak? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Can he or she repeat it back?
    T – Time to call 9-1-1. If any of these symptoms are present, dial 9-1-1 immediately. Check the time so you can report when the symptoms began.

    What Is Stroke?

    Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States and the fourth most common cause of death. A stroke occurs when blood flow through an artery to the brain is cut off either by a blockage or because the artery ruptures and bleeds into the brain tissue. More than 85 percent of strokes are because of blockage by a blood clot or plaque (a fatty, waxy substance that accumulates on artery walls).

    Getting treatment within the first three hours after stroke onset is critical for minimizing permanent damage. That is why it is so important to act F.A.S.T. Don’t wait. Dial 9-1-1.

    Learn More

    For more about stroke, visit the Stroke condition center. To understand the disease process behind most strokes, visit the Carotid Artery Disease condition center.