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BE FAST at First Signs of Stroke

senior man

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death and a major cause of disability in the United States. Thanks to the acronym BE FAST, more people are aware of some of the classic signs of stroke, including face drooping, balance problems, speech difficulty and arm weakness.

What people might not know is that a person having a stroke doesn’t have to display all of the symptoms. Any one, or a combination, can indicate a life-threatening emergency.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is reduced or interrupted. Deprived of adequate nutrients, brain cells can begin to die within minutes. Timely treatment is vital because it can help preserve brain function and potentially save a life.

Remember: BE FAST

  • B: Balance – Is the person having sudden trouble with balance or coordination?
  • E: Eyes – Does the person have sudden blurred or double vision, or loss of vision in one or both eyes without pain?
  • F: Face drooping and/or numbness on one side. Ask the person to smile.
  • A: Arm weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms – does one arm drift downward?
  • S: Speech difficulty – Is the person’s speech slurred? Ask them to repeat a simple sentence.
  • T: Time to call 911

The most common risk factors for a stroke are high blood pressure, smoking and uncontrolled diabetes. Remember to have regular healthcare visits to check your blood pressure and blood sugar. Also avoid smoking and second-hand smoke.