Every Minute Counts & Warning Signs
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Every Minute Counts & Warning Signs

TimeA stroke is caused when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to your brain is blocked by a clot (ischemic stroke) or ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke). When this happens, part of the brain does not get the oxygen it needs and begins to die. The longer blood flow to the brain is cut off, the greater the damage, so it’s important to act FAST.

Learning the warning signs of a stroke and acting FAST when they occur could save your life or the life of someone you know.

Use the FAST test to remember warning signs of stroke.

F = FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T = TIME If you observe any of these signs (independently or together) call 9-1-1


Warning Signs

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on just one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, or trouble talking or understanding speech
  • Sudden problems with seeing out of one or both eyes
  • Sudden difficulty walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  • Other danger signs include double vision, drowsiness, and nausea or vomiting

Sometimes, warning signs last only a few moments and then go away. These brief episodes are Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA), also called “mini-strokes.” Because the warning signs tend to clear up quickly, many people ignore them. These symptoms reveal a serious health problem that cannot be solved without medical help. Paying attention and seeking treatment can save your life. Many people who experience a TIA go on to have a stroke.