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Warning Signs of a Stroke | Act F.A.S.T.

Blood pressure gauge with headlines on stroke prevention and hypertension

Studies show that approximately 795,000 individuals suffer from a stroke each year in the United States. While nearly 75% of strokes occur in individuals over age 65, strokes can affect individuals as young as age 20. Learn how to protect yourself or a loved one by recognizing the warning signs of a stroke and taking immediate action.

Signs and Symptoms
The best way to recognize the symptoms of a stroke is to follow the Act F.A.S.T. method:

  • Face
    Ask the person to smile, determining whether one side of his or her face droops lower than the other.
  • Arms
    Ask the person to raise both arms out in front of his or her body, watching to see if one of the arms drifts downward.
  • Speech
    Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, such as “the sky is blue,” listening for slurred or strange speech.
  • Time
    Contact 9-1-1 or visit the nearest stroke care or urgent care hospital if any of the above symptoms occur.

Additional signs of a stroke include sudden weakness, numbness of the appendages, confusion, trouble understanding or speaking, visual disturbances, dizziness, loss of balance, change in gait, and severe headache.

Prevention Tips
While certain individuals may be genetically predisposed to a stroke, there are several ways you can reduce your chances of an episode, including:

  • Following a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fish
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding tobacco products and recreational drugs
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Incorporating a low dose of aspirin to your dietary intake if approved by your physician
  • Keep chronic medical conditions or diseases under control, such as diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol

If you suspect that you or a loved has suffered a stroke, seek immediate emergency care with the Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center. Our Joint Commission Certified Primary Stroke Center offers a number of services, including diagnosis, treatment, education, and even community outreach. Our Stroke Team ensures that all our patients receive the best care possible from the moment they arrive at our hospital. Contact us at (702) 880-2100 for more information.