Stroke is a leading cause of death worldwide. For stroke survivors, the long-term effects can be devastating for both them and their family. Disturbingly, over the past few years, the rate of stroke among young adults and children has grown rapidly. One of the biggest concerns is that most people having a stroke don’t recognise the symptoms and miss out on medical treatment when it can be most effective.

It’s important to identify the warning signs of stroke and act fast. The sooner you receive medical care, the higher your chances of recovery are. Stroke can rob a person of both their physical abilities and their personality. The faster you act the more of the person you save.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs of a stroke vary from person to person and they usually occur without warning. Common symptoms include the inability to write or understand spoken language, numbness/weakness in the face, arms and legs, double vision, headaches, vertigo, and an inability to recognise faces.

To help recognise a stroke quickly the acronym FAST is used as an easy reminder of the most common stroke symptoms. The letters stand for:

Face:   Check their face – has their mouth drooped?

Arms:  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.

Why is it so Important to Recognise a Stroke?

Recognising if someone is having a stroke and receiving emergency medical treatment are important for three main reasons.

  1. Only a doctor can decide if you are having a stroke
  2. Some treatments must be given within three hours of the stroke starting
  3. They will need to be assessed by a doctor who will look at treatments to prevent another stroke

Because every person and every stroke is different it’s important to seek treatment, even if you’re not sure. For more information visit the stroke foundation’s website www.strokefoundation.com.au