Early detection and treatment can help a stroke victim survive and decrease the severity of long-term damage. Learn the symptoms of stroke by memorizing a simple acronym: FAST…

F is for facial numbness, especially on one side. Can the person smile? Observe whether either side of the face or mouth droops.

A is for arm numbness and/or weakness, especially on one side. Ask the person to raise their arms above their head. Does one arm drift downward or can’t go up all the way?

S is for speech difficulties. Have them repeat a simple sentence. Can they do it? Is their speech slurred?

T is for time, which is critical. If the person shows any of these basic symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Those at increased risk for stroke include people over 55, men, African-Americans, and those with a family history. But don’t assume someone can’t be having a stroke simply because they’re young or seemingly healthy. Anyone can have a stroke — so act FAST if you spot any of the telltale signs.

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