4 F.A.S.T Steps to Recognizing Stroke

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MAA Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Blog

AHA's Mid-Atlanitc Affiliate includes DC, MD, VA, NC, and SC.

4 F.A.S.T Steps to Recognizing Stroke

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We want to invite you to ignite a conversation about stroke to help educate those around you as we enter into American Stroke Month.  Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death and a leading cause of long-term preventable disability in the United State, yet Americans don’t consider stroke to be a major health concern.

What is a stroke? A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients in the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts.  When this occurs, part of the brain can no longer get the blood and oxygen it needs, so that portion of the brain dies.

Thankfully there are some tools that can be used to help recognize stroke symptoms early to help decrease the amount of damage in the brain.  One of these tools that the American Heart Association promotes is the acronym F.A.S.T.

F.A.S.T is an acronym used for recognizing and responding to the sudden warning signs of stroke.  The letters stand for:

  • Face Dropping – Ask the person to smile.  Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?
  • Arm Weakness– Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm weak or numb? Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty– Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly? Are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand?
  • Time to call 9-1-1– If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

To learn more about stroke, the effects of stroke, and how to spread the word about stroke click here.

Do you have a personal story about stroke?  If so, we would love to hear it! Click here and share your story today.

Did you know about F.A.S.T?  Have you thought of ways to share with your friends and family?  If so, tell us about it in the comments section!


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  • My mom had two strokes last year -- I shudder to think what might have happened if they had not recognized the signs and called 9-1-1!  She got treatment FAST, and it made all the difference.

  • Important stroke information, I encourage everyone to share this with those you love.  

  • Such a moving story Keltcie! I''m so glad that someone recognized the signs (twice!) and got her the help she needed!  I''m so glad we can share this information with others so we can help to save people like your mother!

  • It''s quick and easy to down load, could save a life! down load today, I did.

  • I agree, learning the signs and symptoms may save your life.