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Acting F.A.S.T.

On the front page of the Redcliffe and Bayside Herald for August 22, 2019 is a happy couple posing with the words “LUCKY TO BE ALIVE” in bold beside them. Turning to page 5 will explain that the husband had a stroke eight years ago and survived based on two events: he sent four blank texts to his wife and she investigated the strange behaviour.

A stroke occurs when there’s an interruption in the flow of blood to the brain either by some sort of artery blockage (such as a clot) or an artery bursts. Either way, the loss of blood flow prevents oxygen from getting to the brain and the victim has only a short amount of time to get help, which they are usually unable to get themselves. Even if a patient does survive a stroke, they have a high chance of suffering permanent brain-related damage.

When a stroke happens, you have to act quickly. To recognize that a stroke is happening, use the acronym: F.A.S.T.

  • F: Face—Has their face dropped?

  • A: Arms—Can they lift both arms?

  • S: Speech—Is their speech slurred, do they understand you?

  • T: Time—Time is critical. Call 000 immediately if you notice these signs.

While these are the most common signs (though I’m not sure that’s the right term for Time), other signs of strokes include weakness/numbness in the face or limbs, difficulty speaking, dizziness/loss of balance, loss of vision/blurring, headache, and difficulty swallowing.

The husband was just able to reach his phone to alert his wife of something out of the ordinary. He was unable to speak or move his arm and his face drooped. He’s lucky she chose to investigate his abnormal texts because her fast acting saved his life and, according to the paper, he’s alive and doing just fine eight years later.

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