Stroke Acts FAST. You Should, Too.
Get to the hospital. That’s the single most important step you can take to minimize brain damage from stroke.
New treatments can be very effective in preventing disability, but only if they are initiated within a few hours of the onset of symptoms. The National Stroke Association urges you to act FAST to recognize and respond to stroke symptoms:
F = FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T =TIME: If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 9-1-1 or get to the nearest hospital.
If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don’t delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical services (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent for you. Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
It’s very important to take immediate action. If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. tPA is the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of stroke within three hours of stroke symptom onset.
A TIA or transient ischemic attack is a “warning stroke” or “mini-stroke” that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke. The usual TIA symptoms are the same as those of stroke, only temporary. The short duration of these symptoms and lack of permanent brain injury is the main difference between TIA and stroke.
By getting to the hospital as soon as possible you have the best chance to be appropriately evaluated and to receive the most effective treatments available.