Home Care Connections

The Warning Signs of Stroke

Published March 1, 2013

Did you know that a stroke occurs about every 40 seconds effecting about 795,000 Americans each year.

A stroke is a type of brain injury caused by reduced blood flow to the brain when blood vessels are blocked by a clot or become too narrow for blood to get through…  For this reason it is important for everyone to know the warning signs.

Sometimes symptoms of stroke develop gradually.  However, if a person is having a stroke, they are more likely to have one or more sudden warning signs such as:

  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg especially on one side
  • Confusion or trouble understanding other people
  • Trouble speaking
  • Trouble seeing with one or both eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache that comes on for no known reason

When you can spot the signs, you’ll know quickly that you need to call 9-1-1 for help. This is important because the sooner a stroke victim gets to the hospital, the sooner they’ll get treatment. And that can make a remarkable difference in their recovery.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs and symptoms of a stroke.

F.A.S.T. stands for:

  • Face Drooping - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness -  Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty - Is speech slurred, are they 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?
  • Time to call 9-1-1 - If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

For additional information visit the American Stroke Association at www.strokeassociation.org

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