Raise your hands and smile: How to know if you’re having a stroke

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Having a stroke can be a terrifying experience.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the U.S. more than 795,000 people have a stroke, with around 610,000 being new or first-time strokes. In the U.S. someone has a stroke every 40 seconds, and every four minutes, someone dies of one.

Early detection of a stroke is important, and knowing the symptoms of stroke can be the difference between a positive and negative outcome.

When it comes to recognizing the signs of a stroke, a widely used acronym recommended by both the American Stroke Society and the CDC to teach people how to identify a stroke is F.A.S.T.

F – Face

Pay attention to the face. When a person smiles, does one half of their face droop? Is their smile uneven or lopsided? Numbness on one side of the face is also a concerning sign.

A – Arms

Range of motion is another key indicator. Ask a person to raise both arms above their head. Does one arm drift downward, or is one arm feeling weak or numb?

S – Speech

Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred, or is the person unable to speak or difficult to understand?

T – Time to call

If any of the signs above are present, it is time to call 9-1-1. Even if the symptoms go away, it is still important to get the person to a hospital.

“Patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of their first symptoms often have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who received delayed care.”


Other warning signs sometimes included are a lack of balance/stability, difficulty seeing or double vision, confusion or severe headache with no known cause.

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