How to suspect a stroke

Remember the F.A.S.T. Campaign by NHS

FAST campaign from the University College London hospitals (Courtesy: University College London Hospitals website.

The above public health message summarizes the signs and symptoms of a suspected stroke event.

In this creative message, each letter represents a word:

  • F : face,
  • A :arms,
  • S : speech,
  • T : time.

Knowing what these letters represent is not enough. We need to ask its associated specific questions.

How to suspect a stroke

  1. Look at the face

    Ask: can you smile?
    Observe: whether one side of the mouth or an eye is drooping

  2. Compare both arms

    Ask: Raise your both arms
    Observe: Whether the person is having any difficulty of raising one or both arms

  3. Observe the speech

    Observe: whether the person cannot speak or understand as before

  4. Check the time

    Call an ambulance of you observe any one of the above

Time is the critical factor; 32,000 neurons die ever passing second.

Other similar public health messages

The following are several popular messages adopting the same acronym technique. Among many, I chose the above one because its visuals explains everything that we should know succinctly.

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada message
Figure 1: Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation campaign poster (Courtesy: Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation)
University College of London (England) Hospitals message
Figure 2: FAST campaign from the University College London hospitals (Courtesy: University College London Hospitals website)
American Heart Association message
Figure 3: The US campaign (Courtesy: American Heart Association/American Stroke Association)

 

Author: Prasantha De Silva

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