Act FAST: signs and symptoms of stroke

Stroke is an emergency and kills…knowing the warning signs can help save a life.

Stroke (or brain attack) is a medical emergency or a serious life-threatening condition that happens when there is a reduced blood flow to the brain. When a stroke occurs, the brain is unable to receive enough nutrients and oxygen which may cause brain cells to die. Stroke can lead to enormous physical damage (difficulty in movement, speech difficulty and memory loss).

What can cause stroke?

Atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries due to high amounts of plaque formation) of brain blood vessels or their obstruction by a floating blood clot are considered the leading cause of brain attack.

Signs and symptoms of stroke:

The warning signs and symptoms of stroke can vary from person to person and can happen suddenly. As the brain is a command center for human body, the symptoms of stroke are identified based on the affected area of the brain.

Knowing warning signs and symptoms is the first step for a better chance of recovery. Getting help and fast treatment right away is highly critical during the stroke. The sudden signs and symptoms of a stroke can be easily remembered and identified with the word “FAST.”

What is the FAST message?

FAST stands for:

  • Face: A part of the face (commonly on one side) seems to be drooping or turns immobile. Sudden numbness or weakness of face may happen. The person feels difficulty in smiling (crooked smile). Sudden loss of vision can occur in either of the eyes.
  • Arms: Person with stroke feels sudden weakness in the arms and may not raise either of the arms. Lift the arm of the patient and leave it. If the patient immediately drops the arm and is not able to hold the arm in the raised position, he/she may have a stroke.
  • Speech: Person with suspected stroke cannot speak properly. His/her speech may go slurred or garbled. Ask the sufferer to say simple words and check whether they are pronounced correctly.
  • Time: if you find anyone suspecting a stroke or going through above mentioned symptoms or signs of stroke, then it is time to ring emergency number and get the person to the hospital immediately. Emphasizing on the importance of hospitalization, Dr. Anusha D., Neurologist, Apollo clinic T Nagar, suggests that even if the symptoms do not sustain or go away before ambulance arrive, it is extensively important to take the patient to the hospital for detailed medical examination.

Knowing signs and symptoms of a stroke is crucial to avoid unexpected or sudden deaths due to sudden attacks especially when you are being with people dealing with high blood pressure and diabetes or caring for elderly.

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