Stroke recognition is easy thanks to this acronym.
Can you identify a stroke? Stroke is a serious cause of disability and death, occurring when oxygen can't reach the brain because a blood clot cuts off vital blood flow. If you witness a stroke, call 911, then write down the time that the first signs showed. According to the National Institutes of Health, every minute counts. In fact, if administered within 3 hours of a stroke, certain medications may be able to prevent disability or save a life.
Remember that men and women often suffer from stroke differently. Women are more likely to experience difficult to diagnose symptoms such as hiccups, nausea, chest pain or trouble breathing. If you see a women experiencing face pain, limb pain or sudden heart racing or shakiness, call 911 even without other signs.
The simple acronym F.A.S.T. helps you remember key stroke symptoms. These are common for both men and women.
F is for FACE
Does the patient's face appear uneven, as if it's drooping on one side? Can the person smile? Is one eye closed more than the other? Any numbness or weakness in the face or trouble seeing could indicate stroke. A sudden headache could also be a critical symptom.
A is for ARMS
Can the person raise both arms and keep them up? If not, or if one arm drifts down, get help.
S is for SPEECH
Do the person's words sound strange or slurred? Can he repeat a simple sentence back to you? Trouble understanding, communicating or general confusion are red flags for a stroke.
T is for TIME
Every second counts. Call 911 if you witness any of the above symptoms, even if you're not totally sure.
The American Stroke Association recognizes us as a state-of-the-art facility for stroke care. We participate in "Get with the Guidelines," a program aimed at providing stroke patients with the best service, from preventative education to recovery care. Call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-800-445-3392 for more information on stroke or if you would like a physician referral.