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Recognising the signs of a stroke

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Recognising the signs of a stroke

NHS UK

 

The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person but usually begin suddenly. As different parts of your brain control different parts of your body, your symptoms will depend on the part of your brain affected and the extent of the damage.

 

The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST - Face-Arms-Speech-Time.

 

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
  • Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.
  • Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.

 

It is important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms. If you live with or care for somebody in a high-risk group, such as someone who is elderly or has diabetes or high blood pressure, being aware of the symptoms is even more important.

 

 

Other possible symptoms

Symptoms in the FAST test identify most strokes, but occasionally a stroke can cause different symptoms.

Other symptoms and signs may include:

 

  • complete paralysis of one side of the body
  • sudden loss or blurring of vision 
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • difficulty understanding what others are saying
  • problems with balance and co-ordination 
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • a sudden and very severe headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
  • loss of consciousness

However, there are usually other causes for these symptoms.

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Another sign of a Stroke

 

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

 

Remember the '3' steps, STR

 

 

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

 

S  *Ask the individual to SMILE.

 

T  *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup)

R  *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

 

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

 

 

New Sign of a Stroke

Stick out Your Tongue!

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.

 

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