Education

F.A.S.T.: Know the Signs of Stroke (Video)

Someone in the U.S. has a stroke about every 40 seconds, and strokes kill about one person every four minutes, according to the American Stroke Association (ASA).

Stroke is also the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. These startling numbers reinforce the importance of fast response times in treating strokes as they occur. That critical window of time begins the moment that stroke symptoms appear and continues as a patient enters the door of an ER.  If too much time elapses, the higher the risk of administering the clot-busting drug, tPA, which means a greater possibility of permanent disability or death from a stroke.

“Time is of the essence; you really want to get to the hospital fast,” says Felipe De Los Rios, M.D., Medical Director, Stroke Program at Baptist Health Neuroscience Center.


(Video: The Baptist Health South Florida News Team hears from Felipe De Los Rios, M.D., Medical Director, Stroke Program at Baptist Health Neuroscience Center, about recognizing the signs of stroke. Watch now. Video by Steve Pipho.)

Dr. De Los Rios and the ASA stress the importance of knowing the acronym ‘FAST,’ a process that may minimize the amount of damage to brain cells and save the life of a patient that may be suffering a stroke:

Here are the top signs of a stroke, according to the American Stroke Association:

F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

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 speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

T – Time to call 9-1-1: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

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