Think FAST – The Warning Signs of an Oncoming Stroke

Choice HomecareAging, Aging Parents, Caregiving, Seniors

Sometimes when we feel like something is wrong, we end up hiding symptoms and pain in order not to burden others. While this is very common, there are some symptoms that should never be ignored, such as the warning signs of a stroke.

A stroke can happen to anyone at any age, and if the onset of a stroke goes unnoticed and untreated, blood flow to the brain becomes blocked. In just minutes, a stroke can end up impacting a person’s lifelong speech, movement, or memory.

Knowing the signs of a stroke and being able to pinpoint the warning signs can make all the difference in saving a life. Get to know what the warning signs of a stroke are by thinking FAST. 

F: Face Drooping

If you suddenly notice drooping in the face, it is likely the sign of an oncoming stroke.  Whether they’re in mid-conversation or not, if a section of the face begins to droop, ask your loved one to smile immediately. Any sign of a lopsided smile is usually a cause for concern. 

A: Arm Weakness

Having difficulty raising both arms can also highlight a potential stroke. If a person experiences tingling or numbness and is struggling to raise each arm, it’s time to call 9-1-1. 

S: Speech Difficulty

Speech can also be impacted and altered on its own or as the face begins to droop. If it’s difficult to suddenly understand someone, ask them to repeat what they said, or to say any sentence to see if they’re having difficulty speaking. 

T: Time to Call 9-1-1

Any of these symptoms can point to a stroke occurring, even if they only last a short while and go away after a few minutes. It is imperative that you contact 9-1-1 and tell the dispatcher that someone could be experiencing a stroke even if the person who’s exhibiting warning signs of a stroke says that they’re fine. 


Many people suffer from strokes every year, and there are sadly several cases where long-term debilitation occurs. However, by identifying the warning signs as soon as possible, there is a greater chance of being able to get emergency medical treatment and protect someone’s life – including your own. If you delay or don’t address the symptoms right away, there could be devastating consequences. This is why having the facts in advance so you can act quickly is so important.

Always try to remember FAST to protect yourself or a loved one in the future. When faced with such a sudden risk to life and wellness as a stroke, you don’t want to be caught panicking and unsure of what to do as the symptoms unfold.

Our recommendation is to mark these steps down or print out this blog entry so that they’re readily available. Then, do your best to memorize them as clearly as possible. That way, should symptoms of a stroke appear, you can be better prepared and act more quickly. Doing this could reduce the risk of developing debilitating long-term cognitive issues.

Every second counts when a potential stroke is happening, and being able to notice these signs can help save someone’s life. If any of these signs suddenly occur to you or a loved one, it’s important to recognize this as an emergency situation that requires immediate medical attention. Act FAST and don’t feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about calling 9-1-1. It could change the entire outcome if you get emergency treatment in time.