The FAST Way to Identify Stroke
Prabhjot Singh Khalsa, MD
When it comes to a stroke, time is of the essence. Each minute that passes
before receiving help, increases the amount of permanent damage done to
In fact, according to research
published by the American Heart Association, “Every minute in which a large vessel ischemic stroke [the most
common type of stroke] is untreated, the average patient loses 1.9 million
neurons [brain cells], 13.8 billion synapses [connections between brain
cells], and 12 km (7 miles) of axonal fibers [nerve fibers]. Each hour
in which treatment fails to occur, the brain loses as many neurons as
it does in almost 3.6 years of normal aging.”
That’s why knowing the warning signs of a stroke and reacting quickly
is so important.
Remember to Act FAST
Stroke symptoms are different for everyone. Whether you experience multiple
warning signs or just one, if you suspect you may be having a stroke,
seek help immediately. Not sure what you should be looking for? The most
common warning signs are easily recalled with the acronym FAST:
F is for Facial Drooping – This typically occurs on one side of the face. If you or a loved
one’s smile suddenly seems unusually crooked or lopsided, this can
be an indicator of a stroke.
A is for Arm Weakness – Though it’s most common in arms, sudden weakness, numbness
or loss of normal function of any appendage is cause for concern.
S is Speech Difficulty – Slurred speech or difficulty speaking are classic stroke symptoms.
This may or may not be experienced in conjunction with confusion or reduced
T is for Time to call 911 – Treating stroke is a race against time. To give yourself
or your loved one the best chance for survival and recovery, call 911
A Stroke is Always an Emergency
If you’re not bleeding, broken or in pain, it may be tempting to
have a loved one drive you to a hospital or wait to see if your symptoms
go away. But a stroke is a serious health concern that, if not treated
in a timely manner, can be life-threatening. In fact, stroke is the leading
cause of long-term disability and the third leading cause of death in
the United States.
If you, a loved one, or even a person standing next to you, are experiencing
any of the signs of a stroke, we encourage you to act FAST.
Posted May, 2019