Recognise signs of stroke and act FAST
Signs and symptoms
If someone has a stroke, knowing the signs and symptoms and acting FAST can:
- improve their chances of survival
- reduce the level of disability that results from a stroke
The most common symptoms to look out for are blurred vision, slurred speech or muscle weakness when in other ways feeling well.
Check for the following:
- face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
- arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
- speech – is their speech slurred?
- time – time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs
A full-blown stroke could include:
- numbness or weakness in face, arm, hand or leg on just one side of the body
- confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding what someone is saying
- difficulty swallowing
- sudden dimness, blurring or loss of vision in one or both eyes
- trouble walking and dizziness
- loss of balance or co-ordination
- severe headache, sudden vomiting or unconsciousness
With a stroke it's important to act immediately, as early treatment is vital. You should either:
- dial 999
- or go to a hospital Accident and Emergency department
When 999 is called they will be brought by ambulance to the nearest acute stroke centre.
You can find further information on this page:
Your chances of having a stroke reduce if you understand the risks and take action to prevent a stroke happening.
You can reduce your risk of having a stroke by:
- knowing and managing your personal risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, an irregular heartbeat (for example, atrial fibrillation) and high blood cholesterol
- exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight
- reducing the amount of alcohol you drink
- stopping smoking