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How do you know if someone is having a stroke: Think FAST!

Video transcript

how do you know if someone is having a stroke what are some of the the common symptoms and signs that you might want to look out for well there's something called the fast test that might help you to remember the most common symptoms and signs of a stroke so fast what does this mean well for starters it's a mnemonic so we'll sort of delve into each of these letters in a minute but it's also a bit of a reference to the need to diagnose strokes really quickly so that they can in turn be treated quickly because remember the longer that treatment is delayed the longer the person is losing neurons if they're actually having a stroke and let me put it to you this way for every minute that blood flow isn't restored to the brain the person will lose about two million neurons wow that is a lot of neurons so fast not just a mnemonic and let's actually just jump right in here so again you want a quick easy way to tell if someone's having a stroke so you can start by having a look for these common signs and symptoms so we'll start with the F the F means face often a person having a stroke won't be able to control their facial muscles as normal and they might actually develop drooping of their mouth on on one side so you can look at their face and check for any asymmetry and actually a good way to bring this out is to ask the person to smile so they'll try to smile hopefully and it might make it easier to look for any drooping on one side the a stands for arm so for example since strokes can cause weakness in your limbs either on one side or on both sides of your body it's a nice easy little test to check if the person can can raise both their arms so if there's some difficulty or inability in raising one or both of their arms then that might suggest a stroke has occurred now the S the S stands for speech and strokes can actually affect areas in the brain responsible for producing speech and understanding speech as well so the person may have slurred speech or they may not really be able to understand what you're saying to them so try to get the person talking to see if there are any speech problems s for speech and t is for time so we kind of alluded to this earlier because in situations have suspected strokes which are actually medical emergencies time is really critical so if you see any of these signs above the ones that we sort of just talked about the person would need to be taken to a hospital right away so just to clarify what I just mentioned actually the first three bits of the pneumonic in particular these aren't the only symptoms of stroke there's just some of the more common ones that let you do a pretty quick check to see if someone might be having a stroke and two last things before we finish up here so the first thing you can get more than one of these symptoms happening at one time and you often actually develop these in combinations so for example you might get the facial weakness and difficulty speaking and trouble moving your limbs all at once or you might get two of them or you might get all of them plus other symptoms these are just some of the more common symptoms and they can happen in combination or not and the second thing is well we want to know how long these symptoms last right and it kind of depends on what's happening with the cerebral blood supply right because remember a stroke is an interruption in your cerebral blood supply the blood supply to your brain that is severe enough that it actually causes damage to your brain right and the other thing is remember that T is and strokes can have the same initial symptoms so by knowing how long the symptoms have losted that'll sort of help to tease out whether it's a TI a or a stroke that's going on and so to further clarify if without treatment these symptoms go away within about 24 hours then that generally means that the blood flow to that blocked off area of brain has been restored within 24 hours which by definition means that atia a transient ischemic attack has happened and ergo that's what caused the transient symptoms so the symptoms will eventually go away when the blood flow is restored within 24 hours if it's a TI a on the other hand if the blood flow isn't restored within 24 hours then by definition a stroke has occurred and then the symptoms would last longer than 24 hours and they may start to resolve after treatment so there's a quick way to assess if someone might be having a stroke the the fast assessment and just as a reminder if you do know these symptoms then the person needs to be taken to a hospital right away