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Learning About FAST: Stroke Warning Signs

FAST is a simple way to remember the main symptoms of stroke. These symptoms happen suddenly. So learning what to look for helps you know when to call for medical help. FAST stands for:

  • F - Face. Weakness or drooping on one side of the face.

  • A - Arm. Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg.

  • S - Speech. Trouble speaking.

  • T - Time to call 911. Also call 911 if you have other stroke symptoms. They include:

    • Loss of balance or trouble walking.
    • Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.
    • Sudden confusion.
    • Sudden trouble understanding simple statements.
    • Fainting.
    • A seizure.
    • A sudden, severe headache.

A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot. The blood supply to part of the brain—and the oxygen the blood carries—is reduced. This damages the brain.

If you have a stroke, quick treatment may save your life. And it may reduce the damage in your brain so that you have fewer problems after the stroke.

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