Act FAST – How To Recognise A Stroke

Act Fast

Written by Ellie Chow


This month we will focus on the stroke campaign – Act FAST


What is stroke?

  • A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off
  • Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential
  • The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen
  • There are around 100,000 strokes in the UK every year and it is the leading cause of severe adult disability. There are over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the effects of a stroke.
  • If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance


The main symptoms of a stroke can be remembered with the word FAST:


Face – The face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms – The person with the suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – Their speech may be slurred and they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.

Time – It’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.


Even if you are not sure, Act FAST, make the call, dial 999.


Act Fast



If a person has any of these signs or symptoms, get help immediately by dialling 999

  • A speedy response can help reduce the damage to a person’s brain and improve their chances of a full recovery. A delay in getting help can result in death or long-term disabilities.


Don’t ignore temporary symptoms

  • If symptoms disappear within 24 hours, the person may have had a Transient ischaemic attack (TIA), which is also called a mini-stroke. A TIA is still a medical emergency, because it can lead to a major stroke.


Other stroke symptoms people should be aware of include:

  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms


How can you prevent a stroke?

You can significantly reduce your risk of having a stroke by:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Taking regular exercise
  • Following the recommended guidelines on alcohol intake (not drinking more than 14 units a week)
  • Not smoking
  • If you have a condition that increases your risk of a stroke, it’s important to manage it effectively. For example, taking medicine you have been prescribed to lower high blood pressure or cholesterol levels.


If you have had a stroke or TIA in the past, these measures are particularly important because your risk of having another stroke is greatly increased.


For more information or any queries, do not hesitate to speak to any member of our pharmacy team or visit the NHS website. There are also support groups on stroke association for patient who suffered from stroke.


Ellie Chow

Trainee pharmacist

Lowdham pharmacy


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