In the event of sudden facial drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulties, it is recommended to act FAST, an acronym used to recognize a stroke and enhance responsiveness to stroke victim’s need. As timing is crucial to control damage or avoid permanent damage to brain cells, FAST is an easy way to remember sudden signs of stroke.

The mnemonic FAST explains the first major signs of stroke and action to be taken within 3 hours of acute stroke symptom onset. FAST stands for ‘Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call emergency services’.  When one spots 3 common stroke signs, he’ll know that he needs to call help. As quick treatment can help avoid death or permanent physical disability, the FAST stresses the need for immediate action by calling a medical emergency number.

Action(s) proceeding FAST

Timely detection and care play an important role in deciding the course of treatment given to a patient. The treatment depends on the type of stroke, which is why it is very important to get the right diagnosis. In most cases, stroke brings disability, however, the severity and the recovery depend on the intensity of stroke. Some strokes can be treated with drugs while others might need surgery. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent stroke or in post-stroke recovery.


Apart from facial drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulties, the following symptoms warrant a physician’s consultation.

  1. Numbness or paralysis of face and limbs which may affect one or both side of the body
  2. A headache which may lead to loss of consciousness and vomiting
  3. Trouble with eyesight like blurred vision in one or both the eyes
  4. Impaired walking which might be because of reduced coordination and lightheadedness
  5. Impaired writing and reading
  6. Problem with memory
  7. Trouble controlling bowel or bladder movements
  8. Difficulty in controlling or expressing emotions
  9. Difficulty hearing
  10. Depression

Ache in limbs which deteriorates with movement and change in temperature (especially cold temperature)