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Signs to look out for

The early warning signs of stroke can be remembered with the acronym FAST, which means Face, Arm, Speech and Time.

Senior woman lying on the floor in living room. Woman fell on th

You can use the letters in FAST to help you spot a stroke:

  • F – Face drooping
  • A – Arm weakness
  • S – Speech difficulty, slurred speech
  • T – Time is critical, call 000 immediately.

A stroke is a medical emergency, so you must also think and act FAST.

Getting to hospital as quickly as possible is vital when faced with a potential stroke, and will help improve the prospect of recovery.

Beyond FAST, some other signs to look out for include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden walking difficulty, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Sometimes the signs disappear within a short time, such as a few minutes. When this happens, it may be a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). After a TIA, your risk of stroke is higher. A TIA is a warning that you may have a stroke and an opportunity to prevent this from happening.

Call 000 immediately if you suspect a loved one is having a stroke or TIA. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of disability and brain damage.