The National Stroke Association identifies stroke as a leading cause of death among Americans and the leading cause of serious, long-term adult disability. On average, someone will suffer a stroke every 40 seconds and someone will die from a stroke every four hours. Recognizing stroke symptoms and choosing B.E. F.A.S.T. can help save a life. Know the signs of a stroke:
- Trouble speaking or understanding
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of vision
- Numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face or one side of the body
- Sudden, severe headache
- Dizziness and/or loss of balance
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, remember the B.E. F.A.S.T. awareness slogan.
- B for Balance: Has the person lost coordination? Are they having trouble walking or are they stumbling, falling or feeling dizzy?
- E for Eyes: Is the person experiencing vision loss, double vision or blurry vision?
- F for Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
- A for Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down?
- S for Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Do they understand you? Is their speech slurred or unusual?
- T for Time: This isn’t a symptom, but a reminder that a stroke needs to be treated right away. If you observe any of these signs (it doesn’t need to be all of them), call 911.