Understand the signs and symptoms of stroke

By Holly Davison, (PA-C) Ascension Seton Hays

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. One in four people will experience a stroke in their lifetime. Although frightening, knowing the signs of stroke – and getting treatment at the closest facility – can help save lives. 

BE FAST is a simple phrase to help quickly identify the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke. 

• Balance – Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination 

• Eyes – Sudden change in vision

• Face – Facial drooping or weakness on one side, uneven smile 

• Arm –  Sudden arm or leg weakness or numbness, typically on one side of the body 

• Speech – Sudden slurred speech, trouble speaking or trouble understanding speech

Time to call 9-1-1 if the person shows any of the symptoms outlined above. Even if the symptoms improve or resolve, it is still important to call 9-1-1 to get to a hospital immediately. Time is brain. The faster a stroke is diagnosed and treated, the greater likelihood of a positive outcome. 

Additional symptoms of stroke may include: sudden confusion or sudden severe headache with no known cause. 

Advanced stroke care is time dependent which is why it’s critical to call 9-1-1 to get to the hospital. Calling 9-1-1 immediately allows emergency responders to notify the hospital of your arrival and activate the stroke response team so they can be waiting for you. This saves valuable minutes which can minimize the long term effects of stroke and even prevent death.Thanks to advancements in medicine and artificial-intelligence imaging technology, stroke treatments and survival rates have improved tremendously in the last decade. 

Remember, B.E. F.A.S.T. and don’t delay care. 

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