Quickly being able to recognize the symptoms of a stroke can make the difference between life and death. According to the Reader’s Digest, “Often, stroke isn’t treated as an emergency. The problem? One in three Americans can’t identify any of the symptoms.” The symptoms of a stroke can easily be remembered by the acronym “F.A.S.T.”

Face. Ask the person to smile. A stroke can cause one side of the face to droop. Abrupt dimming of vision or a sudden, severe headache with no known cause are also warning signs.

Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. If one arm drifts downward, that could signal a stroke, which can trigger weakness, numbness or paralysis of an arm or leg, particularly on one side of the body.

Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Stroke victims may slur their words, have trouble speaking or understanding speech, or not be able to talk at all.

Time. If the person has any of these symptoms, call 911. Stroke is a life-or-death emergency in which every minute counts.

F.A.S.T. Recognizing Stroke Symptoms – [Reader’s Digest]

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