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Not only are strokes preventable, they are also treatable. Knowing the signs that someone is having a stroke can save a life.
The American Stroke Association provides an acronym, F.A.S.T., that can be easily remembered and put into action in a crisis.
F: Face drooping. If someone suddenly has one side of their face droop or go numb, ask them to smile and see if it remains lopsided.
A: Arm weakness. The sensation of numbness or weakness in one arm can be a sign of a stroke. Ask the person to raise both arms and watch to see if one arm drifts downward.
S: Speech difficulty. Slurred speech or inability to speak and be understood might indicate a stroke. Ask this person to say something very simple like, “My name is ________” and listen closely to hear if the can repeat the words.
T: Time to call 911. Time is of the essence if someone shows just one of these symptoms even if they go away. Make a note of the time when symptoms first showed and tell the emergency responders.
Other symptoms of stroke include the sudden onset of the following:
- Headache with no known cause
- Trouble walking or dizziness
- Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
- Numbness on one side of the body or specifically in face, arm or leg
- Confusion, especially with speaking or understanding speech