National Stroke Week, 8-14 September 2014

National Stroke Week, 8-14 September 2014

You could save someone’s life

How do you know if someone is having a stroke?

Think… F.A.S.T.

The F.A.S.T. test is an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke.
Using the F.A.S.T. test involves asking these simple questions:

Face Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arm Can they lift both arms?
    Speech Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.

Facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech are the most common symptoms or signs of stroke, but they are not the only signs.

Other signs of stroke may include one, or a combination of

  • Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding
  • 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
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weakness or numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body

Stroke Risk Factors

Anyone can have a stroke no matter your age, race or gender. Don’t think  “oh they are too young”,  it affects all ages.  But, the chances of having a stroke increases if a person has certain risk factors, or criteria that can cause a stroke. The good news is that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented, and the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from stroke is to understand personal risk and how to manage it.

There are 2 types of risk factors for stroke: controllable and uncontrollable. Controllable risk factors generally fall into two categories: lifestyle risk factors or medical risk factors. Lifestyle risk factors can often be changed, while medical risk factors can usually be treated. Both types can be managed best by working with a doctor, who can prescribe medications and advise on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Uncontrollable risk factors include being over age 55, being male, being African American, Hispanic or Asian/Pacific Islander, or having a family history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

A stroke is not a heart attack. A stroke happens when the supply of blood to the brain is suddenly interrupted. Some strokes are fatal while others cause permanent or temporary disability.

The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke related brain damage. Emergency medical treatment soon after symptoms begin improves the chance of survival and successful rehabilitation.

The signs of stroke may occur alone or in combination and they can last a few seconds or up to 24 hours and then disappear.

If you or someone else experiences the signs of stroke, no matter how long they last, call 000 immediately.

The faster your act, the more of the person you save.

A stroke is always a medical emergency. Recognise the signs of stroke call 000. 


Think F.A.S.T. for smartphone

Think F.A.S.T. for smartphone features concise stroke prevention information and an up-to-date listing of stroke unit locations throughout Australia.  The app:

  • Helps you understand what a stroke is
  • Teaches you how to recognise the signs of stroke
  • Describes stroke emergency care
  • Allows you to locate Australian hospitals with specialised stroke units
  • Tests your knowledge with a FAST quiz

Download the free iPhone and Windows phone app now.

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