When you see a stroke, act F.A.S.T.
Monday, May 2, 2016
You know what a heart attack is. But what’s a stroke?
“A stroke is a brain attack,” says Dr. Ziad Darkhabani, an interventional neurologist with Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay.
Even so, many people confuse a stroke and a heart attack because the symptoms come on so quickly, Darkhabani says.
“Stroke usually presents itself as weakness on one side of the body, numbness, slurred speech, difficulty getting words out and visual difficulties,” Darkhabani says. “Heart attack symptoms might be chest discomfort, cold sweats, shortness of breath.”
Strokes are caused by blockage to a blood vessel supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. That loss of oxygen and nutrients impairs the abilities controlled by that area of the brain.
Darkhabani offers a simple way to identify a stroke: Act F.A.S.T.
- F is for facial movement. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?
- A is for arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S is for speech. Ask the person to speak. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- T means it’s time to call 9-1-1. If you see or hear any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Learn more from Dr. Darkhabani or from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, which offers a free app to help spot strokes.