Quick response is the key to preventing damage from a stroke.
Any sudden-onset neurologic symptom can be a sign of a stroke, says Samir Shah, M.D., a neurologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas.
If you think someone is having a stroke, think fast: F-A-S-T.
“F-A-S-T is a good acronym to remember the signs and symptoms of a stroke and what to do when you see them,” Shah says, “so F stands for Face; look at your loved ones face and see if they have a drooping or asymmetric face.
“A stands for arm strength. Have the patient lift up their arms; if theres one side that doesnt lift up as well, or there’s an asymmetry there, that’s worrisome.
“S stands for speech, so if there’s slurred speech or difficulty speaking, those things are worrisome.
“T stands for time — if you see any of those things, its very important to activate emergency medical services as soon as possible.
“The important thing is to call 9-1-1, not to drive your own loved one to the hospital,” Shah says, “because sometimes there are certain hospitals that can deal with a stroke better than others and paramedics and emergency medical service knows where to take your loved one if theres concern for a stroke.
“So when you go to a hospital thats a primary stroke center you know that they’re following evidence-based guidelines and treatment protocols to take care of stroke rapidly to get to the bottom of the cause and to put you on all the right medicine for prevention in the future.”
Texas Health Resources