150,000 people in the UK experience a stroke every year. It is therefore important that people can recognise the signs and symptoms when they occur. Act FAST and use the word as your guide to action.
What is Stroke?
A stroke is a brain attack. It happens when the blood supply to the brain is disturbed. Most strokes occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. Some strokes are caused by bleeding in or around the brain from a burst blood vessel.
Signs and symptoms of Stroke?
Face - Arm - Speech - Test is a diagnosis used before hospital admission and allows the person to be referred to a stroke unit quickly.
What is FAST?
Assess the signs and symptoms quickly. Look and observe and act F.A.S.T.
Facial weakness - can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
Arm weakness - can the person raise both arms?
Speech problems - can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
Time to call 999
If the person fails any one of these tests, you must call 999. Stroke is a medical emergency and you must act quickly in order to obtain prompt treatment to prevent further damage to the brain and aid a full recovery. Delay can result in death or major long-term disabilities, such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems.
What if the symptoms go away?
A Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) which is sometimes called a mini stroke, is similar to a full stroke but the symptoms may only last a few minutes and will have completely gone within 24 hours. Do not ignore it. It could lead to a major stroke. See your doctor as soon as possible and ask to be referred to a specialist stroke service. This should happen within seven days.
Do not delay. Be safe not sorry.