Stroke: warning signs
Signs of stroke FAST. Recognise the signs of stroke call 000. A stroke is always a medical emergency.
Using the FAST test involves asking three simple questions:
|Face||Check their face. Has their mouth dropped?|
|Arm||Can they lift both arms?|
|Speech||Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?|
|Time||Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.|
Facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech are the most common signs of a stroke, but they are not the only signs. Other signs of stroke may include one, or a combination of:
- weakness or numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body;
- difficulty speaking or understanding;
- dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall;
- loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes;
- headache — usually severe and abrupt onset, or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches;
- difficulty swallowing.
The signs of stroke may occur alone or in combination and they can last a few seconds or up to 24 hours and then disappear.
When symptoms disappear within 24 hours, this episode may be a mini stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA).
If you or someone else experiences the signs of stroke, no matter how long they last, call 000 immediately.
Last Reviewed: 30/07/2013
Reproduced with kind permission from the Stroke Foundation.
1. Stroke Foundation. Signs of stroke FAST. http://strokefoundation.com.au/what-is-a-stroke/signs-of-stroke/ (accessed October 2013).
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