Act Fast to Stop a Stroke

Learn the acronym BE FAST, for signs of a stroke and what to do

BE FAST is acronym for balance issues, eyesight changes, face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to call 911.

Learn the acronym BE FAST, for signs of a stroke and what to do

Every year about 800,000 people suffer a stroke in the United States. A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Sometimes it is called a brain attack.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and leading cause of serious long-term disability in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association.

Despite the grim statistics, stroke is a preventable and treatable disease. Knowing the signs of stroke and getting fast treatment when stroke symptoms occur can literally make the difference between life and death or serious disability.

Many strokes could be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and working with your health care team to control health conditions that raise your risk for stroke.

Who is at risk for stroke?

Some people are at higher risk than others for stroke, including people with a previous stroke, atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is a heart rhythm disorder, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and sickle cell disease.

Stroke risk increases with age. Because women generally live longer than men, more women have strokes over their lifetimes.

Why fast treatment is important

When stroke symptoms occur, getting fast treatment can prevent death and disability from stroke.

“The best way to treat strokes is to respond rapidly,” says Mary Kalafut, MD, a neurologist at Scripps Clinic and stroke medical director for Scripps Health. “We need to move fast because every minute can cost brain recovery. The emergency room team must recognize a stroke and alert the stroke team, including the neurologist.”

Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke can help you take quick action and save a life, including your own.

How to spot a stroke: BE FAST

How do you know if someone is suffering a stroke? There are multiple signs to look for

and a simple way to remember them: BE FAST (balance, eyes, face, arm, speech, time).

BE FAST is an updated version of the FAST acronym used to help memorize the signs of stroke.

Infographic with BEFAST stroke acronym tips to detect signs of stroke.

Watch the video and podcast on stroke prevention

Watch the San Diego Health video or listen to the podcast with host Susan Taylor and Dr. Kalafut discussing the causes, symptoms and treatments for stroke.

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