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How to spot a stroke

When someone has a stroke, recovery can be greatly impacted by how quickly medical treatment is received. That's why it's important to know what the symptoms of stroke look like so you can better determine when someone needs help. 

“Emergency treatments available for stroke include medications and endovascular procedures; however, both are time dependent,” said Dr. Jeffry Ruff, a neurologist with Maury Regional Medical Group Hospital Medicine. “The sooner you call 911 when stroke symptoms begin, the quicker the treatment and the better chance one has for recovering from stroke.”

Jeffry C. Ruff Jr., D.O.
is a neurologist on the medical staff at Maury Regional Medical Center.  He is associated with Maury Regional Medical Group Hospital Medicine in Columbia, Tennessee. 

How can you tell if someone is having a stroke? Remember the word FAST! This acronym helps you identify the warning signs of stroke

Facial drooping: Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face drooping or hard to move?

Arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down?

Speech difficulties: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Do you notice slurred speech or trouble forming words?

Time: Time lost is brain lost. If you notice any of the above symptoms, call 911 right away.

Other symptoms of stroke include double or blurred vision, a sudden severe headache with no known cause, sudden numbness on one side of the body, trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, and arm or leg weakness.

If something seems “off” with someone and you suspect it’s due to a stroke, call 911 immediately. The sooner a person having a stroke gets to a hospital, the better the odds of recovery. The single most important factor in the successful treatment of stroke is getting treatment as quickly as possible.

If you suspect a stroke, always call 911. Remember, it’s important to act FAST.

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Date Last Reviewed: March 12, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Salman Wali, MD; Denis Dollard, MD
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