Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke

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

  • Face
  • Arms
  • Speech
  • Time

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.

Symptoms in the FAST test identify about nine out of 10 strokes.

Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • numbness or weakness resulting in complete paralysis of one side of the body
  • sudden loss of vision 
  • dizziness 
  • communication problems, difficulty talking and understanding what others are saying 
  • problems with balance and coordination 
  • difficulty swallowing 
  • sudden and severe headache, unlike any the person has had before, especially if associated with neck stiffness
  • blacking out (in severe cases)

‘Mini-stroke’ or transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

The symptoms of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) are the same as a stroke, last from between a few minutes to a few hours, then completely disappear. However, never ignore a TIA as it is a serious warning sign there is a problem with the blood supply to your brain.

There is about a one in 10 chance those who have a TIA will experience a full stroke during the four weeks following the TIA. If you have had a TIA, you should contact your GP, local hospital or out-of-hours service, as soon as possible.





 

 

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