A Simple Stroke Acronym That Can Save Your Life

When most people think about strokes, they think about the devastating effects that are left behind after it occurs. There is often much more to it, and early detection of the stroke could make the difference between successful treatment or a long-term disability or death.

Strokes are relatively common. They are fifth on the list of leading causes of death in the United States, according to the CDC.

Photos: Pixabay / geralt

You might also be surprised to learn that all strokes are not the same. According to the NIH website, a stroke could either be ischemic, in which blood flow is blocked to the brain, or hemorrhagic, which involves a brain bleed.

Act Quickly For Stroke Survival

In either case, the brain cells could be starved of oxygen and nutrients and quickly begin to die. The effects can begin happening in minutes, which is why it is so important to determine if you may be having a stroke as soon as possible.

Of course, if you feel that you or someone else is having a stroke, you should not hesitate to contact 911. Get an ambulance to your house as quickly as possible, so they can begin treatment, even when you are on your way to the emergency room.

Many stroke victims wait until the symptoms are advanced before they take action. This can lead to devastating results, as a stroke could lead to permanent symptoms or death.

Long-Term Stroke Disabilities

Some of the long-term disabilities can include memory loss, paralysis, aphasia, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

Photos: Pixabay / ganderboy

The bottom line is that a stroke is a frightening and potentially devastating medical emergency. If you feel that you or someone near you may be having a stroke, you can use this acronym so you can get help as quickly as possible.

The acronym, ‘BE FAST,’ is a widely accepted method of determining stroke in its early stages. Previously, they used FAST, but it was determined that 14% of patients with acute stroke would miss the symptoms using that shorter acronym.

It is also important to understand the signs associated with BE FAST. These signs come on quickly, so keep that in mind when using it.

The BE FAST Acronym

BE FAST stands for:

B = Balance – When you have balance problems or experience changes in your balance.

E = Eyesight – Any sudden changes in your eyesight, including double vision, blurriness, or sudden blindness.

F = Facial Droop – Is your smile uneven or are you experiencing drooping of the face?

A = Arm – Are you experiencing weakness on one side of the body or weakness of the arm?

S = Speech – Do you have word slurring or are you speaking gibberish? Any sudden changes to your speech should be suspect.

T = Time – Do NOT waste time before calling emergency services. Contact them immediately. This letter may also stand for ‘Terrible Headache,’ which is considered a possible sign of stroke.

There are also some risk factors that may make you more likely to have a stroke. These can include high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, and poor diet.

There may also be other factors that are outside of your ability to control, including genetics, age, race, and sex.

Never underestimate the need to get early attention when you first start experiencing the symptoms of a stroke. Use BE FAST as a general guide, but if you feel you or someone else is having a stroke, contact 911 immediately.

The following dramatization can show you just how suddenly a stroke can occur.

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