Think F.A.S.T: It’s Stroke Awareness Month

Because June is stroke awareness month, it’s worth it for you to remind yourself how to recognize the warning signs of a stroke. If you suspect that someone around you is having one, think F.A.S.T:

Facial Droop: During a stroke, one side of the face will not move as well as the other side. Ask the affected individual to smile and watch the corners of his/her mouth.

Arm Drift: Have the person hold both arms out in front of them. One arm may not be able to move or will drift back down unconsciously.

Speech: The person may slur words, use incorrect or confused words, or be unable to speak at all.

Time: Get medical help immediately. The earlier a stroke is treated, the better the patient’s survival and recovery outcome.

While most people think that strokes only affect the elderly, there has been a recent significant increase in the prevalence of strokes among younger people. Studies show that although the majority of strokes still occur in people over the age of 70, in the last 10 years, strokes have increased by 24 per cent among people in their fifties and by 13 per cent for people in their sixties. Moreover, international research also predicts that stroke rates will rise among people aged 24 to 64 in the next 15 years.

This means that it is incredibly important to understand how to detect a stroke, as they can affect anyone. Severe strokes can lead to brain damage, disability or even death: if you suspect that someone around you is having a stroke, think F.A.S.T and alert a health professional at once.