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Can you Recognize the Signs of a Stroke?

Can you recognize the signs of a Stroke?

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States.  Approximately 800,000 people suffer strokes each year, and almost 130,000 of those victims die. According to the experts at stroke.org, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States will have a stroke and one stroke will take a life every four minutes.

Strokes can happen to anyone at any time regardless of age, sex or race.  In fact, 34 percent of the 130,000 stroke-related deaths reported each year are to people under the age of 65. Women will suffer about 55,000 more strokes a year than men, and African Americans are twice as likely to suffer a stroke as Caucasians.

So would you know how to recognize the signs of a stroke?  Here’s what you should know to act F.A.S.T if someone you love (or a stranger, for that matter) experiences a stroke.

Types of Strokes

Ischemic strokes occur when arteries are blocked by a small blood clot or as plaque and other fatty deposits build up in the arteries.  Almost 90 percent of all strokes are ischemic

Hemorrhagic strokes: Happen when a blood vessel in the brain breaks open and starts to leak. Hemorrhagic strokes account for just over 10 percent of all strokes.  However, hemorrhagic strokes account for more than 30 percent of all stroke-related deaths.


Act F.A.S.T.

Learning to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and getting help immediately are very important.  Over 2,000,000 brain cells die every minute during a stroke, and can quickly cause irreversible brain damage. The faster you can recognize the signs of a stroke and get treatment, the more likely any permanent damage can be reversed.  To recognize the signs of a stroke, remember the acronym F.A.S.T.

Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does their face look uneven?

Arm weakness: Ask them to raise both arms out in front of them. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech difficulty: Ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound strange?

Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms call for help fast. Call 911!

It’s very important to learn to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and call 911 as soon as possible.  Time saves brain tissue and could even save a life.  Just remember to act F.A.S.T. Always note the time of day you recognize the first symptoms of a stroke.

For ischemic strokes, if treatment with clot busting medication is given within the first three hours of the first symptom, long term disability can be reduced greatly.

There are also other stroke treatments available that may help reduce the effects of the stroke.  Hemorrhagic strokes most likely will need surgical intervention to relieve the buildup of blood in the brain and to fix the leak in the blood vessels.



17 thoughts on “Can you Recognize the Signs of a Stroke?”

  • Rick

    It would be nice to include what FAST means;

  • Michael

    You did not actually tell what F.A.S.T. stands for????????
    Without emphasizing the actual mnemonic this post is actully less than no help.
    Does no one review these things???

    • beprepared

      Thank you for pointing this out. I've updated the post with the meaning of the acronym. Thank you for being patient and understanding.

  • Linda Strickland
    Linda Strickland August 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    They did explain what FAST meant. I read it. I'm sorry you could not see it. Thanks for the information!!

  • Faith

    And remember that botulism can mimic a stroke. Be careful with home canning!

  • Kim Nelson

    One of my brothers was showing signs of a stroke, weakness on the right side. His right leg was giving out and he would fall. He never told any of the family about this. One day at work, he told his boss he wasn't feeling well and took the day off. When he was talking to our mother, she noticed his speech was slurred. Later, when he was checked out at the hospital they discovered it was a slow growing brain tumor which had been growing for 20 years! My brother said the only time his head hurt was when he sneezed. Sometimes symptoms of a stroke can be signs of other health issues.

    • beprepared

      Thanks for sharing! It's true that strokes can act as signs of other health issues. It might take that stroke to get someone in to the doctor to discover other issues going on (even though, having a stroke is not the ideal way to find these things out). Also, making sure you take your medications (if you're prescribed) makes a major difference in keeping strokes at bay. My great aunt recently passed away from a stroke because she did not take her meds and the signs of stroke were unrecognized. This is truly valuable information to know.

  • Mike

    Everyone should know this. One fact that your doctor will never tell you is that Cholesterol levels affect Stroke risk and not in the way that you might think. There are two types of strokes Ischemic and Hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is cause by a blockage robbing a portion of the brain of blood. A Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a ruptured blood vessel bleeding into the brain. This second type is the most likely type to cause death and permanent damage. If your total Cholesterol is under 200, you have twice the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke as someone who's total cholesterol is above 200.

  • Betty


  • Henry Goodman

    As a hospital pharmacist, I applaud your efforts to disseminate this valuable information to the public. Keep up the great work!


    The meaning of the acronym was obvious in the text...thanks for the info

  • Anne Whittemore
    Anne Whittemore August 18, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I've bought 10# cans from EE. If I open cans to fix meal, how can I keep remaining contents moisture-proof? I want to fix my own MREs, but can't figure out how to keep the food moisture-proof. I should have bought MREs to start with.

    • beprepared

      Great question. I have a question for you first, just to get more of a feel for what's happening. After you've opened your cans, did moisture collect inside? If not and if you're just wondering how to keep moisture out, I've got a couple of suggestions for you. One thing we recommend is that after opening your cans, you can protect your food from moisture by putting the contents of the can into gallon-sized ziploc bags or metallized bags. After opening the can, you want to keep the food stored in the can with the lid on because the cans are specially made to protect the food from light and moisture. Packaging plays a large role in helping to keep moisture out of the food as well as having oxygen absorbers.

  • Tim White

    The day this article was written ( 7-18-2014 ), I had just been released from the hospital, where I was treated for an upper GI bleed, which led to 2 strokes. I was not expected to survive. Here I am! Thanks to all who treated me in the almost month I was there, & 3 months outpatient therapy. My family was a huge factor!

  • Arlene Butler

    I am very grateful and appreciative for all of the tips etc. that you put on your web site free of charge and for the constructive comments from others who have contributed and I am sure have benefitted from all of the work of Emergency Essentials I know that I have. Thankyou so very much.

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