A Stroke Is an Emergency!

Published on Nov 22, 2017
Medically reviewed by Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, DFAPA

I am writing this a few days before Halloween, which seems fitting — because there are not many things scarier than a stroke. Like a heart attack, a stroke can come on suddenly, with little or no advance warning. And like a heart attack, a stroke can cause serious and lasting damage, or it may be fatal, especially if you don't respond quickly. That's why it's very important to know stroke's warning signs and if you see them, call 000 (Australia) or 111 (New Zealand) immediately. A quick response can literally mean the difference between life and death. Warning signs of stroke include sudden:

  • Numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Severe headache with no known cause

If you observe or suspect anyone to have at least one of those symptoms, act FAST. Here's a way to remember what to do – remember the letters F-A-S-T:

  • F for Face: Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face drooping?
  • A for Arm: Can they raise both arms or is one arm weak?
  • S for Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is their speech slurred or confused?
  • T for Time: Call 000 (Australia) or 111 (New Zealand) right away!

Another study found that even though people recognised a friend or family member might be having a stroke, they may not make an emergency call. However, they would immediately make an emergency call if they thought a friend/family member was having a heart attack.

In a stroke, minutes matter - dial 000 (Australia) or 111 (New Zealand)!

[1]

References

  • 1. Hendrick B. Hesitation in Calling for an Ambulance Could Delay Lifesaving Treatment. WebMD 2010. Accessed 16/2/2017.
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