Simplest ways to identify a stroke

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Strokes are certainly a scary subject.

They happen without warning, and affect your brain and body in a way that can be irreversible, if not treated in a timely manner.

Fortunately, if you know the signs of a stroke — like this nurse did — you can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to gets treated, which saves brains cells and lessens your chance for permanent damage.

Stroke symptoms are not subtle and can very dramatically alter how you move, talk, and speak, depending on what part of the brain is affected.

Learning these specific stroke signs can be lifesaving for both you and those around you. How can you easily remember stroke symptoms? All you have to to is think FAST!

We're not talking about acting on your feet, but rather observe the word, or acronym, "F.A.S.T." Each letter represents a step to take when identifying a stroke. Check down below to learn what they are so you can be prepared!

Scroll through to learn the symptoms of a stroke and how to prevent them:

How to identify a stroke
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How to identify a stroke

Use the "F.A.S.T." Method

If someone you know is having a stroke, it’s imperative to identify it as quickly as possible so that you can get them the help they need.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to a certain area of the brain is cut off, which can result in a loss of memory, muscle control, or motor skills.

This manifests itself with a very specific set of symptoms, which you can identify by remembering the acronym F.A.S.T.

“F” — Facial Drooping

If you are assuming someone is having a stroke, observe their face.

When blood is cut off from a part of the brain, the cells that need constant oxygen can get damaged or die. This means that various muscles that are affected by that part cease to work.

So if one side of their face is suddenly drooping, it’s a strong sign that they are having a stroke.

“A” — Arm Weakness

If you want to further determine if someone is having a stroke, ask them to raise both their arms.

Depending on what part of their brain is lacking in blood flow, one arm should be significantly weaker than the other.

This means that they will not be able to raise one arm as high as the other.

“S” — Speech

A stroke can affect a person’s brain in a way that makes them unable to speak properly.

Ask them to speak or repeat a sentence like, “The sky is blue.”

Notice if their speech is slurred or incomprehensible, because this could mean that they have had a “brain attack.”

“T” — Time To Call 911

After you have properly identified these symptoms, it’s time to call 9-1-1.

Stokes are a serious determinant to the brain and every minute it’s left untreated can mean more brain cells lost.

Plus, if ischemic stroke sufferers are treated in the first three hours of having it, they are 30% more likely to make a recovery with little to no repercussions, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

And though having a stroke is extremely serious, there are plenty of ways that you can help lower your risk of having one.

Prevention Method #1: Lower Your Blood Pressure

Since strokes are caused by blood clots that obstruct the body’s blood flow, it’s incredibly important to keep your blood pressure down.

This can be done many different ways, like reducing sodium intake or eating more potassium.

Watching your weight can also ensure that hypertension doesn’t occur in your bloodstream.

Prevention Method #2: Go Out And Get Moving

Another way to keep your blood pressure down, therefore keeping your risk of stroke at bay, is to be active whenever and however you can.

Being active gets your heart beating and blood pumping rapidly around your body, which is what helps banish the chance of hypertension.

It is also a great way to manage a healthy weight so that more health complications don’t arise.

Prevention Method #3: Drink In Moderation

Alcohol has actually been shown to lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm of mercury.

But this can only happen if you enjoy it in moderation.

At the end of the day, your body responds to a healthy balanced diet, so enjoying everything in moderation can help ensure a healthy internal system.

Prevention Method #4: Identify And Manage Depression Symptoms

Being depressed means that you are much more likely to experience a disinterest in being active, possibly turning to drinking and smoking heavily.

These habits heighten your chances of developing hypertension and having a stroke.

So properly identifying if you have depression or not is extremely important to but your mental and physical health. 

Prevention Method #5: Pay Attention To Heart Palpitations

According to Prevention, if you experience heart flutters along with shortness of breath or chest pain, this could also mean you have atrial fibrillation.

This significantly increases your risk of having a stroke since it directly affects your blood flow.

Fortunately it is a very manageable condition when using the right medicines.


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