Knows the Signs of Stroke: Act F.A.S.T.

Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. Know these warning signs of stroke and teach them to others. Every second counts even if the symptoms subside.

FACE: Does one side droop?

Things to look for or ask:

•Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the mouth hang lower than the other? 

•Can the person feel you touch their face? Lightly touch them on both sides and ask them if the feeling is the same.

ARMS: Does one arm drift downward?

Things to look for or ask:

•Ask the person to raise both their arms up together. Does one arm begin to fall down? 

•Ask the person to squeeze your fingers with each hand. Is one hand weaker than the other? 

•If you ask the person to try to hold something like a pen, can they do it without any difficulty? 

•Can the person feel you touch them on their arm? Lightly touch them on the skin of both arms and ask them if the feeling is the same on each.

SPEECH: Are words slurred or mispronounced?

Things to look for or ask:

•Are they having problems speaking? 

•Are they having problems “getting their words out”? 

•Do they sound like they have something in their mouth when they speak? 

•Are they saying the appropriate words (do their words make sense) when they speak? 

TIME: Time lost is brain lost?

Action:

•Call 911 if you experience any one of the symptoms.

Treatment is most effective when started immediately, greatly increasing chances of survival and decreasing chances of brain damage. 

If you see the person experiencing just one of these symptoms, even if it goes away, do not wait. Call 911 immediately – tell the dispatcher that the person may be having a stroke and request transport to a hospital certified in stroke care. 

Illustration of the brain with clock