Take the time to learn the signs and symptoms of stroke during May, which is National Stroke Awareness Month. A 2005 CDC survey found that only 38% of people could correctly identify all 5 symptoms of stroke and knew to call 9-1-1 if they thought that someone was having a stroke.
The key to recognizing a stroke is knowing the following signs and remembering that they occur suddenly:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
What to Do? Act FASTIf you think someone may be having a stroke, act FAST and do the following simple test:
- F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- T—Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.