Many of us have family members or know someone who has been the victim of a stroke. A stroke occurs when a portion of the brain is blocked from obtaining the necessary blood to properly function. A stroke may also occur if bleeding in the brain begins damaging brain cells. This loss of oxygen to the brain will ultimately start damaging brain cells, which could lead to serious and even deadly consequences.
For a stroke victim, the first few minutes and hours can make a huge difference in the ultimate outcome. The ability to recognize and identify the symptoms of a stroke and to act quickly is crucial. The common acronym F.A.S.T. is often used to identify and act on someone who may be having a stroke. "F" is for facial drooping along one side of the face, which is a common side effect. "A" is for arm weakness. Ask a victim to raise both arms. If that person is unable to raise one arm, it may be a sign of a stroke. "S" is for speech difficulty. Lastly, if a victim experiences any of these symptoms, "T" stands for it is time to call 9-1-1.