Think F.A.S.T to Prevent Stroke
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2022

Think F.A.S.T to Prevent Stroke

Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fifth cause of death in the United States today. The most serious consequences can be prevented with prompt treatment.

A stroke comes without warning and can happen to anyone of any age or gender. During a stroke, every second matters. Fast treatment can lessen the damage to the brain. Treatments work best when the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within 3 hours of the first symptoms.

Learning to recognize the signs and calling 911 immediately can help prevent the damaging, or even fatal, effects of a stroke.

Know the signs

To check for the most common symptoms of a stroke in yourself or others, think F.A.S.T.

F=Face  Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

A=Arms  Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S=Speech  Is speech slurred? Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase to check for slurred speech.

T=Time If the answer to ANY of these questions is “yes,” call 911 immediately and write down the time when symptoms first started.

It’s important not to waste time calling a doctor or driving the person to the ER. The ambulance workers can assess the care needed and determine the best place for care.

Stroke Stats

  • Nearly 25% of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.
  • The risk of stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55.
  • Around 25% of people who recover from their first stroke will have another one within 5 years. 80% of strokes are preventable.

Stroke Prevention is Possible

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of strokes can be prevented through the following actions.
  • Keep your blood pressure in check
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol
  • Exercise five times per week
  • If you have diabetes or atrial fibrillation, work with your doctor to keep it under control

Other symptoms

While the face, arm, and speech symptoms noted above are the most common indicators of stroke, other sudden changes that could indicate stroke include:

  • Numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side
  • Confusion or trouble understanding other people
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Trouble seeing with one or both eyes
  • Problems walking or staying balanced or coordinated
  • Dizziness
  • Severe and sudden headache

If your symptoms go away after a few minutes, you may have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a “mini stroke.” While TIAs may pass quickly, they can be a sign of a more serious condition that will not go away without medical help. If you or someone else experiences these sudden symptoms, call 911.


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