Radio Show Transcripts
Recognize Signs of a Stroke

When strokes happen, it's critical to recognize signs early and act F.A.S.T.

Last week, we talked about how to recognize a heart attack. This week, we're going to briefly discuss its close cousin, the stroke. Strokes and heart attacks are similar because they are disruption of proper blood circulation to one of the body's critical organs. The cause of strokes could be because of a clot or a blood vessel rupturing and thereby preventing proper blood flow. When this happens, it's important to act quickly because, as the American Stroke Association says, "time lost is brain lost." Thanks to modern medications and treatments, victims of strokes can often reduce disabilities, but for these to be effective, treatments must be given relatively quickly after the stroke symptoms first appear. So if these symptoms affect you or another, don't delay--get help right away!

At the present time, the American Stroke Association is teaching a technique they call F.A.S.T. ("Fast"). When you see these sudden signs of a stroke, you'll know to call 9-1-1 for help right away:

F – Face Drooping
Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile and check to see if the face is uneven.

A – Arm Weakness
Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms and see if one arm drifts downward.

S – Speech Difficulty

Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T – Time to Call 9-1-1

If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 to get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Believe it or not, strokes can happen in anyone, regardless of age. About half of the childhood stroke cases have no previous risk factor identified.

Though the F.A.S.T. technique can be useful in detecting strokes, there may be other important-to-know signs for infants and children. For these, you can learn more at the links below.

In any case of a sustpected stroke, don't delay! Prompt diagnosis and treatment of a stroke is critical. "Time lost is brain lost."

Additional Information
American Stroke Association