Emergency Medicine: Recognize the Signs of Stroke By Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac Stroke is often referred to as a brain attack. It is considered the No. 1 cause of adult disability and the No. 3 cause of death in the United States. It striking more than 500,000 people every year. A stroke can happen at any age. It is important to recognize stroke symptoms and act quickly. The effects of a stroke may include paralysis, poor memory and loss of speech. Common stroke symptoms seen in both men and women: -Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg (often on one side of the body) -Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding -Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes -Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination -Sudden severe headache with no known cause Women may report unique stroke symptoms: -Sudden face and limb pain -Sudden hiccups -Sudden nausea -Sudden general weakness -Sudden chest pain -Sudden shortness of breath -Sudden palpitations The acronym F.A.S.T. is a good way to recommend the signs of a stroke. FAST stands for: • Face: This tells you that if a person’s face is drooping around the eye or mouth, this could be a sign of a stroke. If a person’s face appears to be drooping and they are experiencing numbness, they could be having a stroke. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? • Arm: This means you should check for arm weakness. A quick test is the inability to raise both arms over head. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?