Warning Signs of a Stroke

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The Importance of Identifying a Stroke

Knowing the signs of a stroke may save a life.

By identifying signs of a stroke early and contacting emergency medical professionals, a stroke victim is more likely to survive a stroke. The most crucial factor in identifying a stroke is time. It is said that “time saved equals brain saved”, meaning that the faster a stroke victim is treated, the less devastating the effects of the stroke will be. Because time is so crucial, medical professionals came up with the acronym FAST to help people remember the signs of a stroke and when to contact emergency medical professionals.

What FAST Stands For

F-Face. If you see that someone’s face is drooping or is unable to smile or correctly move their mouth, call 911 immediately. This is a very common sign of a stroke.

A-Arms. Another sign is if the arms or legs become weak and the person is no longer able to lift their limbs on their own.

S-Speech. A common sign of a stroke is slurred speech or speech difficulty.

T-Time. If you have witnessed any of the above signs or a combination of the three, it is time to call an emergency medical professional.

Other Signs of a Stroke

Although these signs are the more well-known signs of a stroke, each stroke victim’s symptoms will be different. Therefore, it is important to know all of the symptoms of a stroke. Other symptoms to look out for are decreased balance and blurred vision.

Accounting for less than 2% of all strokes are cerebellar strokes, which present different symptoms than most strokes. Signs of cerebellar strokes include vertigo, vomiting, muscle weakness, blindness, and headaches.

Due to the variety of signs and symptoms, it is important to err on the side of caution and to contact emergency responders anytime you witness a sudden change in symptoms. Sudden changes in symptoms include immediate droopiness of the face or a sudden slurred speech.

In conclusion, it is most important to remember the FAST acronym and that time is crucial in identifying a stroke. Reaching out to a medical professional immediately has the ability to save lives.