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Learning About FAST: Stroke Warning Signs

What are the FAST stroke warning signs?

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

FAST stands for:

  • F ace. Weakness or drooping on one side of the face.
  • A rm. Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg.
  • S peech. Trouble speaking.
  • T ime to call 911.

Other stroke symptoms 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, and a sudden, severe headache.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

Symptoms of a stroke happen quickly. A stroke may cause:

  • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
  • Sudden vision changes.
  • Sudden trouble speaking.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
  • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
  • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.
  • Fainting.
  • A seizure.

It's important to call for medical help if you have stroke symptoms. Quick treatment may save your life. And it may reduce the damage in your brain so that you have fewer problems after the stroke.

What happens when you have a stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot. The blood supply to part of the brain is reduced. Without blood and the oxygen it supplies, the nerve cells in that part of the brain die within minutes. As a result, the part of the body controlled by those cells cannot work properly.

The effects of a stroke may range from mild to severe. They may get better, or they may last the rest of your life. A stroke can affect many things, including vision, speech, behaviour, thought processes, and your ability to move.

Where can you learn more?

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