The number of deaths from stroke has fallen in recent years, but it is still the number five killer of Americans. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke could save a life, because during a stroke, every minute counts. Acting quickly to get help can reduce the amount of brain damage that the stroke can cause. The acronym F.A.S.T. is an easy and quick way to remember the sudden warning signs.
F: Face drooping. If one side of the face is drooping or numb, the person may be having a stroke. Ask them to smileif it is uneven, this is a clear sign.
A: Arm weakness. Often one arm will go weak or numb during a stroke. Ask the person to raise both armsif one arm begins to drift downward, they may be suffering from a stroke.
S: Speech difficulty. Slurred speech is another sign of a stroke. If the person is hard to understand or unable to speak, ask them to repeat a simple sentence like "The sky is blue.", and see if they can repeat it correctly.
T: Time to call 911. If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if they go away with time, call 911 and take them to a hospital immediately.
Other warning signs of stroke may include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg, arm or face.
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding what is going on.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Finally, it is important to note the time when the symptoms first appear. Some treatments for stroke only work when they are given within the first three hours after the stroke occurs, so knowing when the symptoms first started can be crucial.
The St. John Heyman Stroke Center is the only Joint Commission-certified comprehensive stroke center in eastern Oklahoma and is nationally recognized for advanced endovascular stroke treatment therapies.They were honored at the 2015 International Stroke Conference as a leader in quality stroke care. For more information, visit www.stjohnhealthsystem.com/heyman-stroke-center or call 918-744-0123.