You might spot FAST on the TV or online throughout February 2015.

The Stroke Association is working with Public Health England to make sure as many people as possible know to Act FAST to save a life. Watch Public Health England's television advert below:

The FAST Test

The FAST test identifies the most common symptoms of a stroke or mini-stroke in three easy to recognise categories.

A silhouette of a face with one side droppedFacial weakness: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?



A purple silhouette of an armArm weakness: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?



Speech bubbles to symbolise how speech is affectedSpeech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?



Time to call 999 - a purple clock symbolTime: If you see any one of these three signs, it’s TIME to call 999. Stroke is always a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.


Recognising the signs of stroke or mini-stroke and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial. The quicker a patient arrives at a specialist stroke unit, the quicker they will receive appropriate treatment and the more likely they are to make a better recovery. If you suspect a stroke, always dial 999.

TIA or transient ischaemic attack

A TIA or transient ischaemic attack (also known as a mini-stroke) is the same as a stroke, except that the symptoms last for a short amount of time and no longer than 24 hours. If you, or someone else, show any of the signs of stroke you must call 999.

Every year at least 46,000 people in the UK have a TIA or Transient ischaemic attack (also known as mini-stroke) for the first time and although the symptoms may not last long, a TIA is still very serious. It's a sign that a person is at risk of going on to have a stroke. That is why a TIA is often called a warning stroke yet too many people are unaware of the link between TIA and stroke and are not getting the services and support they need. 

There is no way of knowing whether you are having a mini-stroke or a stroke when the symptoms first start, so you need to seek immediate medical help. Just like stroke, a mini-stroke is a medical emergency. If you think you have had a mini-stroke and have not sought medical attention see your GP urgently.

Find out more about mini-stroke and our Not Just A Funny Turn campaign.

More from the Stroke Association

Find out how to prevent a stroke or get involved with our prevention campaigns:
Know Your Blood Pressure and our Atrial Fibrillation campaign

We rely upon donations to allow us to continue funding vital research into stroke. By making a donation today, you will help us carry on supporting research that saves lives.