Identify a stroke F.A.S.T.

Last Modified: 9/02/2022


Stroke – the fifth leading cause of death – is an episode where a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot, bursts or ruptures. This results in part of the brain being deprived of the blood and oxygen it needs, killing those brain cells. When it comes to treatment, every minute counts, and early identification is essential for recovery. We consulted Mike Oberg, EMS training officer, Parkview Health, as well as materials provided by the American Stroke Association, to demonstrate the basic steps for detecting this neurological event.

Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.

Face drooping
Ask the person if they are able to smile. Is one side of their face drooping more than the other? Is their face partially numb?

Arm weakness
Is their arm weak or numb? If they raise their arms, is one drifting forward?

Speech difficulty
Is their speech slurred and difficult to decipher, or are they unable to speak at all? Can the person repeat a simple sentence?

Time to call 911
If the person is experiencing any of the symptoms above, even if they eventually stop, call 911 immediately and take the person to the emergency room.

Other signs of stroke*

  • Sudden numbness of 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

*American Stroke Association

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