Act FAST: Stroke Symptoms That Require Emergency Care

Identifying stroke symptoms early could save a life.

A stroke occurs when blood can’t reach the brain, either due to blockage or insufficient blood flow. Know what a stroke looks like so that you can call 911 before brain damage or even death occurs. According to the National Stroke Association, American women currently suffer from more strokes than men and often have different, more difficult to spot symptoms. For example, their signs sometimes include trouble breathing or hiccups.

An easy way to remember the symptoms for stroke is the acronym F.A.S.T. It stands for:

F = Face
The person’s face may appear asymmetrical, as if only half the facial muscles are working. Is one side sagging? Part of the face falling or numb-appearing is a red flag for stroke.

A = Arms
Similarly, only one arm, or both arms, may not function properly at the time of a stroke. To check, ask the person to raise his or her arms. If one slowly falls as though the muscles can’t stay engaged, a stroke may be beginning.

S = Speech
You may have trouble understanding the person’s words. If speech is slurred, ask him or her to repeat a sentence back to you. Another hint is if the person loses track of what he or she was saying mid-sentence or seems confused.

T = Time
As soon as you suspect that you are witnessing a stroke, write down the time, even if you are not sure whether or not the stroke is really occurring. Call 911 immediately. The speed with which you call 911 makes a big difference when it comes to a stroke. Certain anti-blood clot medications can prevent some types of brain damage if the patient receives it within the first few hours after a stroke occurs.

If you see any of the above signs, call 911. Denton Regional Medical Center is here to answer all of your health questions. Give us a call at (855) 477-DRMC (3762) if you would like help finding a physician that can meet your needs.

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