When an individual suffers from a stroke, the blood supply to the brain is reduced or completely interrupted and is often caused by a rupture or clot within the vessels of the brain. The reduced or interrupted blood supply deprives the brain of essential nutrients and oxygenated blood causing the brain cells to die, often within just a few minutes. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a tissue plasminogen activator to increase the chances of a patient’s recovery after a stroke, the medication must be administered within 3 hours of the patient displaying symptoms of the stroke. Knowing how to recognize symptoms of a stroke and ensuring rapid treatment is the best way to minimize the effects of a stroke.
Act F.A.S.T. Method
One of the best ways to identify the signs of a stroke is to follow the Act F.A.S.T. method:
Ask the individual to smile and notice if one side of his or her face droops lower than the other.
Ask the person to raise both arms. Check to see if one arm drifts downwards.
Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, such as “the sky is blue,” listening for speech or language difficulties such as jumbled or slurred speech.
If the individual demonstrates any of the signs listed, contact 9-1-1 immediately.
Additional symptoms of a stroke include:
- Loss of vision
- Double vision
- Loss of balance
- Gait abnormalities
- Loss of sensation in the extremities or face
- Severe headache
At the Regional Medical Center of San Jose, our multidisciplinary team of stroke physicians and nurses are fully equipped to identify stroke symptoms and provide treatment as quickly as possible. Visit our website to learn more about us or for more information about strokes.