The symptomatology and signs of strokes vary from individual to individual, however in most cases they begin quickly without warning. The symptoms a stroke causes varies between people depending on where in the brain the stroke occurs.
The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time.
- Facial – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may have assymetry when smiling and they may have eyelid drooping.
- Arms – the person with a possible stroke may be unable to lift both arms and/or keep them raised because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm.
- Speech – their speech may be slurred and/or garbled, or the person may have difficulty talking or be unable to talk at all despite the fact they are awake.
- Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
- Tongue – Deviation of the tongue may occur with strokes.
- Other symptoms – May include confusion, blurring of vision and more severe visual problem
It is important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms which may save lives and improve the quality of life of stroke patients as early treatment can make a tremendous difference to a stroke patient’s prognosis. Being aware of the symptoms is even more important in higher risk groups, such as the elderly, heavy smokers, diabetics and high blood pressure sufferers.