Recognizing the symptoms of a stroke is crucial for prompt medical intervention. Remember the acronym "FAST" to help identify common signs of a stroke:
- Face drooping: One side of the face may droop or feel numb. Ask the person to smile, and observe if their smile appears uneven.
- Arm weakness: One arm may become weak or numb. Ask the person to raise both arms, and check if one arm drifts downward or is unable to be lifted.
- Speech difficulty: Speech may be slurred or difficult to understand. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, and listen for any speech abnormalities.
- Time to call emergency services: If you notice any of these symptoms, it's critical to act quickly. Call emergency services or the appropriate emergency number in your country to seek immediate medical attention.
Additional symptoms that can occur alongside the "FAST" signs include:
- Sudden severe headache
- Trouble with vision in one or both eyes, such as blurred or double vision
- Confusion, difficulty understanding, or trouble speaking or comprehending
- Dizziness, loss of balance, or coordination problems
- Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, typically affecting one side of the body
- Difficulty walking, stumbling, or experiencing a sudden loss of coordination
- Sudden onset of severe fatigue or exhaustion
It's important to note that not all individuals will experience every symptom, and symptoms may vary depending on the area of the brain affected by the stroke. If you suspect someone may be having a stroke, do not delay in seeking medical help. Quick medical intervention can make a significant difference in minimizing the potential damage caused by a stroke.