CPR First Aid

Act FAST and Beat Stroke

Act FAST and Beat Stroke

According to the National Stroke Foundation, someone in Australia has a stroke every nine minutes. One in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime, which is a leading cause of disability in adults. In addition, strokes are one of the leading causes of death for both men and women. 

Despite these statistics, many Australians are unaware of their stroke risk. A recent survey found that only one in three Australians could correctly identify all the major risk factors for stroke. This is exactly why people – especially first aid responders – need to act fast when a victim is experiencing a stroke.

What Happens if You Have a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain has been cut off. This can happen if a blood vessel in the brain bursts or is blocked by a clot. When this happens, the brain cells die and the affected person loses control of the body; thus, it is a medical emergency.

Which Type of Stroke is Worse?

There are two types of strokes:

Ischemic stroke

This occurs when an artery that supplies blood to the brain is blocked or reduced. About 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic strokes.

Hemorrhagic stroke

On the other hand, if a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts, this can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke is less common than ischemic stroke, accounting for about 13 percent of all strokes.

What is a mild stroke called?

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is often called a mini-stroke, but it’s a major warning sign that a person is at risk for a stroke. A TIA occurs when the blood supply to the brain is briefly interrupted. The symptoms are similar to those of a stroke, but usually, last only a few minutes and don’t cause permanent damage.

Are There Warning Signs Days Before a Stroke?

 Certain warning signs may occur days or even weeks before a stroke. It is the sudden onset of the following:

  • severe headaches
  • dizziness or vertigo
  • nausea and vomiting
  • double vision or blurred vision
  • weakness or numbness in the face, arm, or leg
  • difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • difficulty swallowing
  • confusion or disorientation

Act FAST and Beat Stroke

When it comes to strokes, every second counts. F.A.S.T. is a simple way to remember the most common symptoms of stroke and to act on them quickly if you or someone you know is experiencing them. FAST is an acronym for Face, Arm, Speech, and Time. If the symptoms are true for each item below, it can indicate a stroke.

F – Face drooping

Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop or is it lopsided?

A – Arm weakness

Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech difficulty

Is speech slurred, are words missed, or is the person unable to speak?

T – Time

Time to call triple zero (000): If the person shows any of the above, even if the symptoms go away, call 000 and get the patient to a hospital immediately.


If you are at risk of stroke, consult your doctor for medical advice to prevent or treat the underlying causes if needed.



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