Could You be Having a Stroke? Memorize This FAST

Could You be Having a Stroke? Memorize This FAST

Feb 03, 2017

Catherine was in the kitchen cooking dinner and looking forward to the holiday weekend. Extended family was coming in for a reunion, and there would be lots of fun, food, and fellowship. She was fighting a bad headache but had so much to do she didn’t want to stop. Suddenly, she was having a hard time following the recipe. She tried to ask her daughter Amy to get her some canned tomatoes from the basement pantry, and what came out sounded like gibberish. Amy looked at her mom and noticed that the right side of her face seemed droopy. She grabbed her cell phone and called 911.

Memorize the following. The first letter of each of these words spells FAST. Pay attention and you could help save someone's life.

Face Drooping: Have the person smile and if their smile isn’t even, call 911.

Arm Weakness: Have the person raise both arms, and if one arm falls downward, call 911.

Speech Difficulty: Do they have slurred speech? Can they talk? Can you understand them? Have the person repeat a simple sentence, like “The grass is green.” If they cannot do this, call 911.

Time to Call 911: If anyone shows any of these symptoms, call 911 and get to the hospital immediately. Make note of the time the symptoms began. There may be time to help with medication before too much damage occurs.


  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the body, particularly on the leg, face, or arm
  • Trouble seeing
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness, loss of balance
  • Confusion
  • Severe headache

Women can have any of the symptoms listed, but they also have reported symptoms that are different from the common symptoms. Some are:

  • Fainting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Sudden behavioral change
  • Hallucination
  • Vomiting 
  • Hiccups, with or without chest pain

Amy was able to get Catherine the help she needed in time, and she made a full recovery. Information for this article was taken from and; please read more about how you can work to prevent a stroke. Talk to your doctor about changing or controlling your stroke risks.


  • Someone in the U.S. has a stroke about once every 40 seconds.1
  • 80% of strokes can be prevented.3
  • Stroke is the No. 1 preventable cause of disability.1
  • One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs.2
  • Strokes can happen at any age, but the risk increases as people get older.

1 Heart disease and stroke statistics—2014 update:
2 Ad Council Stroke Warning Signs Discovery Research, Full Report, December 2011

Category: health

Shannon Daugherty

ACS, FLMI, Member Programs Assistant

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