How to Recognize a Stroke

How to Recognize a Stroke


The ability to identify the signs/ symptoms of a stroke is crucial in order to help a loved one get the right care. Time is everything when dealing with a stroke patient. As an Emergency Medical Service department we like to educate you on very simple sign(s) that will help you identify what a stroke is. A stroke occurs when blood flow is cut off to an area of the brain, depriving it of oxygen and glucose. Long term effects could result in permanent brain damage or even death. This is why it is important to recognize this illness as soon as possible. One very easy way to identify this illness is through the mnemonic FAST.


Facial drooping

Arm weakness

Speech slurring / difficulty



In order to recognize facial drooping simply ask your loved one to smile. Look to see if their smile is uneven. If so, proceed to test arm weakness. Ask your loved one to close their eyes and raise both their arm out in front of them and hold them in place. Take note of any weakness such as one arm drifting lower than the other or an inability to lift or hold. The next test is slurred speech: ask your loved one to say “ The sky is blue in Cincinnati.” Note any unusual slurring in their speech. If any of these 3 are present, It is time to call 9-1-1. These very simple step allow you to present the right information to the dispatcher when an emergency call is placed. Up to 80% of strokes can be recognized and prevented. Knowledge is key. Help save a loved one’s life by arming yourself with stroke prevention knowledge and taking the time to learn FAST.