FAST is an acronym that stands for Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call emergency services. It is used to help detect symptoms of stroke. A stroke is when the blood supply to the brain is restricted or cut off. The severity of a stroke can range from mild, to severe, and will affect different parts of the body depending on how much of the brain tissue is affected. If you follow the FAST guidelines and check for all the symptoms involved, it will help you be able to determine the signs of a stroke and get the patient to emergency services as quickly as possible. Let's break it down, so you know what to look for when using the FAST stroke symptom acronym.
When your facial muscles become weak or appear to droop, this is part of the facial paralysis that occurs when someone suffers a stroke. This happens because the lack of blood damages the nerves in the brain that control the facial muscles to the area, or because of direct pressure from a blockage. Affecting either one of even both sides of the face, as well as a lack of movement, the face or side of the face may feel numb. A simple test is to look in the mirror and smile. If one side of your face does not lift as the other does, you may be experiencing some facial paralysis. If you are concerned about someone else, ask him or her to look directly at you and smile.
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