Respond to Stroke Symptoms: BE FAST

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Knowing the warning signs of a stroke is critical to minimizing damage to the brain from this potentially deadly, disabling medical emergency. For every minute your brain goes without oxygen, you lose about 1.9 million neurons, says the National Institutes of Health. This translates to lost ability to speak, move, remember and think clearly. So seeking treatment immediately at the first signs of stroke may preserve your quality and length of life.

“A cardinal feature of a stroke is its suddenness of onset,” says neurointerventionalist John Terry, MD, Neurocritical Care Medical Director, Miami Valley Hospital. He explains more in “How can I tell if a stroke is occurring?”

Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

How can I tell if a stroke is occurring?

The term or word stroke comes from a Greek root which means “a strike or a blow.” A cardinal feature of a stroke is its suddenness of onset. So these symptoms don't gradually come on, they usually come on right away as soon as the problem occurs. And there are several symptoms that are very commonly seen amongst most strokes. Most strokes have some element of weakness to them. And weakness is distributed in a way that it typically involves one half of the body or the other, such as the right or left side. That can be associated with numbness or changes in sensations. While slurred speech is very common, visual problems are common as well and they may include an inability to see to one side or another as well as double vision.

 

Stroke warning signs include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs, especially on one side
  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness and loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache, with no apparent cause
  • Sudden trouble speaking or understanding
For every minute your brain goes without oxygen, you lose about 1.9 million neurons.

If you or someone close to you exhibits these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Remember to BE FASTRespond to Stroke Symptoms F.A.S.T. - In Content

To help you recall the most common signs of stroke, BE FAST:

Balance – You may have sudden trouble with balance or coordination.
Eyes – Are you suddenly experiencing blurred or double vision or a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes?
Face drooping – One side of the face is droopy or numb and the smile is uneven.
Arm weakness – One arm feels weak or numb, and as you lift both arms, one will start to fall down.
Speech difficulty – You may have slurred speech, difficulty with talking and trouble repeating sentences.
Time to call 911 – The sooner you get to the hospital, the better your chances of fully recovering from a stroke. Note the time the first symptom occurred to help your medical team provide the best possible care. 

“If you have one of the those stroke symptoms identified, you have a roughly 70 percent chance of diagnosing a stroke in a loved one,” says neurointerventionalist Bryan Ludwig, MD, Stroke Neurology Chair, Premier Health Neuroscience Institute.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

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