Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time. It's vital to know how to spot the signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else.
Stroke is a medical emergency. The FAST test can help you recognise the most common signs.
- Facial weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
- Arm weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
- Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
- Time to call 999: if you see any of these signs.
Make sure you and your loved ones all know the FAST test.
Acting FAST will give the person having a stroke the best chance of survival and recovery. Always call 999 straight away.
Ambulance paramedics are trained in stroke, and will ensure the person receives emergency medical care and specialist treatment.
Other symptoms of stroke
The FAST test helps to spot the three most common symptoms of stroke. But there are other signs that you should always take seriously. These include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
- Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
- Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
- Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness or a sudden fall.
- A sudden, severe headache.
If you spot any of these signs of a stroke, don't wait. Call 999 straight away.
Mark Gater, 57, had a life-changing stroke in April 2018, while at home with his wife Victoria. She’d seen the adverts for FAST, but never realised until that moment just how important that would be.
Victoria said: “I asked Mark to speak to me or lift his arm, but he was unable to respond. He showed all symptoms in the FAST advert and I was able to put my knowledge into action. We called an ambulance and it arrived within minutes. They very quickly assessed Mark and just twenty minutes later we were on our way to hospital.”
Stroke is a medical emergency. By calling 999 Mark was able to get the medical help he needed.