When someone suffers a stroke, time is essential.
A stroke is the interruption of the flow of blood to any part of the brain, which damages brain tissue. The longer the delay before treatment begins, the more damage to the brain tissue.
Suspect a stroke? Think FAST!
The main aim of the FAST campaign is to help people recognise the symptoms of a stroke – and to think FAST.
What are the symptoms of stroke?
To help people recognise the symptoms of stroke quickly the Face Arm Speech Test – which is used by paramedics to diagnose stroke prior to a person being admitted to hospital. By diagnosing the possibility of stroke before reaching hospital, it is possible for appropriate referral to a stroke unit to be made as quickly as possible.
A stroke can happen at any time to anyone from the youngest of babies to the very elderly. Usually there is little or no warning so it is really important that If you see someone with any one of the tell-tale signs of a stroke, you need to Think FAST and dial 999. There is a simple checklist which is easy to use about the symptoms of either a stroke or TIA (Transient ischaemic attack, where some of the blood supply is cut off for a short period of time but then returns)
Facial weakness – can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
Arm weakness – can the person raise both arms?
Speech problems – can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
Time – to call 999
Prompt action can prevent further damage to the brain and help someone make a full recovery. Delay can result in death or major long term disabilities, such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems. The most effective treatment for a stroke is one which thins the blood. For this to be effective it needs to happen soon after any symptoms of a stroke develop.
If you have high blood pressure, smoke, drink too much alcohol, are overweight, have diabetes, know your cholesterol is high – you could be at serious risk of having a stroke. You should have regular reviews with your Doctor if you are in one of these categories – it may save your life!