Act FAST to prevent complications of stroke

There are more than 100,000 cases of stroke in the UK every year. Knowing how to spot the symptoms of stroke could save you vital time in an emergency.

It is essential that victims receive urgent medical attention to reduce the risk of long term complications, so time really is of the essence. Act FAST to protect your loved ones from stroke. The most commonly recognised symptom of a stroke is facial dropping on one side. However, this is not the only symptom. There are other signs to be aware of and you need to call 999 if you spot any one of them.

Stroke: act fast

F.A.S.T. is a simple test to help you identify the symptoms of a stroke:

Face- Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?


Arms- Can they raise both arms and keep them there?


Speech- is their speech slurred?


Time- to call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you see any of these signs.

Symptoms vary from person to person but will often begin suddenly. As different parts of your brain control different parts of your body, symptoms depend of which part of the brain is affected by the stroke.

Who is most at risk?

Anyone can get a stroke. Whilst they normally affect older people, younger people can also have a stroke. Most strokes occur in people over the age of 55, but one in four strokes in the UK affect people of working age and can even affect children. Certain medical conditions increase your risk of having a stroke, these include:

    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • High cholesterol


There are also lifestyle factors that may significantly increase the risk of having a stroke. They include:

    • Smoking
    • Being overweight
    • Lack of exercise
    • Poor diet
    • Excess alcohol consumption


Leading a healthy, active lifestyle is vital to help reduce your risk of having a stroke.

What is a mini stroke?

If symptoms disappear quickly and within 24 hours, this may mean you’ve had a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), also known as a “mini stroke”. This must still be treated as a medical emergency to reduce the risk of having another stroke. Even if symptoms quickly improve, your body has still sent you a warning that the brain is at risk. You are never wasting anyone’s time by seeking medical attention for this, quite the opposite!
For more information search “Act Fast” or visit the Stroke Association at

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