Family Health

Signs of Stroke and When to Call 911

May 22 • 2018

Stroke Warning Signs in Adults: Learn How to Act FAST

A stroke, or a “brain attack,” is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and inside the brain. During a stroke, blood flow and oxygen to the brain are cut off, which can result in brain damage or death if not caught quickly. Every year, more than 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke.

Because every second counts in preventing long-term permanent disabilities when treating a stroke, it’s important to understand stroke warning signs in adults and when to call for help. Baptist physicians, nurses and first responders recommend using the acronym FAST to spot signs of stroke immediately.

Face Drooping
Is the face numb or drooping? Can the person smile normally? An uneven or crooked smile could mean the person is suffering a stroke.

Arm Weakness
Is the person experiencing weakness or numbness in one arm? Can he or she raise both arms? If one arms drifts downward, that indicates muscle weakness—a common stroke warning sign.

Speech Difficulty
Is the person able to speak? Is he or she hard to understand? Slurred speech and the inability to correctly repeat words are signs of stroke.

Time to Call 911
If a loved one shows any of these signs of stroke, it’s time to call 911. Every second counts during a stroke, so get to the emergency room as quickly as possible. Be sure to record the time when the signs began and inform first responders so they can take appropriate action.

Stroke is an emergency, and immediate treatment can save a life or increase a person’s chances of a full recovery. Sometimes common indicators of stroke appear alongside other warning signs, such as:

• Sudden confusion
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Trouble walking or loss of coordination
• Sudden severe headache

To learn more about FAST and how you can help a loved one recover from a stroke, visit the American Stroke Association’s website.

Life-saving TeleStroke Services at Baptist Memorial Health Care

Because the key to surviving a stroke is immediate medical treatment, our physicians and nurses at Baptist Memorial Health Care use TeleStroke, a 24/7 stroke consultation service. TeleStroke allows our trained emergency department staff to consult with board-certified vascular neurologists via a cart containing video and audio equipment.

With TeleStroke, people suffering from stroke or other neurological conditions get access to quicker care and treatment options. Learn how TeleStroke works for stroke patients and health care providers across the Baptist system in this video , and explore our neuroscience services for information about our multispecialty programs.