Strokes are the fifth cause of death in America and the leading cause of disability. It is important to recognize when a person is having a stroke so that you can get help fast.
The American Stroke Foundation uses the word FAST to help people check for signs of a stroke.
F – Face drooping. This is when one side a person’s face is numb or sags. One way to check is to ask the person to smile. If the smile is uneven or droops, the person might be having a stroke.
A – Arm weakness. If you think a person is having a stroke, ask him to raise both arms. If one arm starts to drift downwards, this might be a stroke symptom.
S – Speech difficulty. Does the person have trouble talking? Are his words slurred or hard to understand? Can he repeat something back to you?
T – Time. If a person has symptoms of a stroke, time is important. Call 9-1-1 immediately.
A person who is having a stroke might also have difficulty walking or seeing. There might be numbness on one side of the body.
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, get help. Even if there is only one symptom or if the symptoms go away, get help.
Getting help fast is one of the best ways to help a stroke victim. Tell medical personnel when the symptoms started. Some medicines need to be administered within three hours to prevent death or disability.