How can you tell if someone is having a stroke? The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association tell people to remember F.A.S.T.
F is for when the face starts to droop. Is one side of the face numb? Ask the person to smile.
A is for arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms and note if one arm drifts down.
S is for speech difficulty. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T means time to call 911. If the person shows any of the symptoms above, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
Other symptoms that might indicate a stroke include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg.
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, every four minutes someone dies of a stroke: that’s about 130,000 Americans annually. Stroke causes one of every 10 deaths, and every year more than 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke. Strokes can occur at any age, with nearly one fourth occurring in people under the age of 65.
Do all of the FAS symptoms have to be present? What about the headache? Could just a severe headache be a warning or does it need to be accompanied with other symptoms?