They say that an Australian has a stroke every 19 minutes in Australia, which raises the valid question: would you know what to do if it was your loved one?
With stroke being one the primary causes of death and disability in the world today, it certainly pays to memorise this simple test known as F.A.S.T, because it could be the difference in a loved one first surviving a stroke, and then making a full recovery.
A prompt response is everything when it comes to stroke survival. That’s because strokes starve the brain of blood supply carrying the all-essential oxygen and nutrients.
How to act F.A.S.T.
So to prevent death and permanent disability in yourself, your friends or family, you really do need to be able to recognise the signs of stroke and then act F.A.S.T (Face, Arms, Speech and Time).
And once you have learnt to do this, please share with family and friends.
So what is F.A.S.T?
The Stroke Foundation recommends the F.A.S.T. test as an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke.
All you have to do is memorise these four simple simple questions:
Face: Look at their face. Is part of it drooping? What about their mouth?
Arms: Can they lift both arms?
Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time: It’s critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.
Other signs of stroke
Facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech are the most common symptoms or signs of stroke, but they are not the only ones.
The following signs of stroke may occur alone or in combination:
Weakness or numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body
Difficulty speaking or understanding
Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
Loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes
Headache, usually severe and abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
If these signs disappear within a short time, such as a few minutes, it may be sign of a transient
ischaemic attack (TIA). This isn’t good, because after a TIA, your risk of stroke is higher. However, a
TIA can also be seen as a blessing, because it is a warning that you may have a stroke and an
opportunity to prevent this from happening.
What is a stroke?
The brain requires oxygen and nutrients carried via blood to control the human body.
When the brain does not get the blood it needs, a stroke has occurred as a blood clot or a blood
vessel that has burst or leaked. No matter how big or small the stroke, it is always a medical
There are two types of stroke:
Ischaemic stroke: Where a blood clot or plaque blocks arteries.
Haemorrhagic stroke: Where an artery breaks or bursts.
How a stroke affects someone is dependent on where in the brain it occurred, how big the stroke is, as well as how long it took for medical assistance. Every stroke is different as a result and may
impact the way a person’s body works and feels as well as how they think.
Encouragingly, more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. You can reduce your risk of stroke by making some positive lifestyle changes.
Risk factors for stroke that are within our control include:
High blood pressure
High intake of alcohol
Tips to prevent risk of stroke include:
Regular health check-ups to find out your risk factor for stroke, especially important in older adults.
Eating well can lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as prevent diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Avoid or decrease alcohol
Quit smoking, because smoking doubles your risk of stroke.
Call South Coastal Health & Community Services today!
If you’re concerned that some of your habits may be harming your health and that it’s time to act by consulting one of our GPs or our Accredited Practising Dietitian, please give us a call on 08) 9550 0900, or email our friendly team via firstname.lastname@example.org