There are two types of stroke, an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke happens when a clot blocks a vessel supplying blood to the brain. It’s the most common type, accounting for 87% of all strokes. The treatment goal is to bust or remove the clot. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a rupture in a blood vessel within the brain. The treatment goal is to stop the bleeding.
Knowing the warning signs means getting medical attention right away. The American Stroke Association suggests remembering the acronym FAST to recall the most common signs of stroke.
F.A.S.T. stands for:
- Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the mouth lopsided or uneven?
- Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time to call 911 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
Four letters, F.A.S.T., and three numbers, 9-1-1, can save a life. Even if you are unsure, it’s better not to wait. Receiving timely stroke treatment is a big step to recovery.
Stroke isn’t a death sentence. If you know the warning signs and react quickly, a stroke can be treated with little to no disabilities. Please visit strokeassociation.org to learn more about how stroke is preventable, beatable, and treatable.