Magazine article Work & Family Life

Know the Stroke Signs and Act F.A.S.T

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Know the Stroke Signs and Act F.A.S.T

Article excerpt

QYou ran an article years ago about how a person with no medical training could potentially recognize when someone is having a stroke simply by asking a few questions. I think it's worth repeating and hope you do, too.

-J.P., Nashville, TN

A We agree. This is important. The strategy we described before is known as the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale. It goes:

Ask the person to smile.

Ask him or her to raise both arms.

Ask him or her to speak a simple sentence. For example: "The sun is shining. "

If the person has trouble performing any of these three tasks, call 911 and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

The American Stroke Association also suggests using this approach, but now it's called F.A.S.T. It's a little more thorough and may be easier to remember. It goes like this:

F for Face drooping. Does one side of the person's face droop or is it numb? Ask her or him to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?

A for Arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S for Speech difficulty. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask him or her to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Was it repeated correctly? …

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