Recognizing a stroke early and immediately calling 911 is critical to a person's outcome. When it comes to stroke, remember to think F.A.S.T. and use the following acronym provided by the American Stroke Association to quickly identify stroke symptoms in yourself or others:
- Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
- 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? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time to call 911: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.