Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke

If you’ve ever witnessed or had a stroke, is a scary experience. A stroke happens when blood stops flowing to any part of your brain, which damages brain cells. Since some strokes are more subtle than others, recognizing the signs of stroke and acting quickly could mean the difference between a full recovery and life-altering disabilities.

A stroke is a medical emergency, so don’t play tough guy if you experience any of these three major signs of stroke, with the fourth being the critical factor (F.A.S.T. for short):

  1. Face — Sudden drooping face muscles (usually on one side) could mean a stroke is happening.
  2. Arms — If you suspect you or someone near you is having a stroke, raise both hands above the head. If you can’t raise one arm, you could be having a stroke.
  3. Speech — Is your speech suddenly slurred or jumbled? Time to take action.
  4. Time — In all cases where you suspect stroke, call 911 right away and ensure you’re taken to the right hospital that provides acute stroke care. The correct immediate care can make all the difference.

Other possible stroke signs, when combined, are sudden blurred or double vision, severe headache, numbness, and problems with balance.

Thankfully, 80% of Canadians who experience a stroke will survive. But stroke is no joke! So now that you know the warning signs, share them with your family, buddies, and work colleagues. Fast action could save a life.

For more information, please visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.


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