When stroke strikes, act F.A.S.T

Responding quickly when you think someone may have had a stroke gives the patient the best chance of recovery and reduces the likelihood of long term effects.

That’s why the public are being urged to act F.A.S.T when they recognise the possible symptoms of someone having a stroke.

A campaign is running from 16 May to the end of June 2018 to raise awareness of the signs and encourage people to call an ambulance as quickly as possible if they see them. Local pharmacies will be displaying leaflets and posters and there will also be television adverts during this time.

How to spot the signs

The F.A.S.T message is aimed at helping people remember what the main signs of a stroke are:

  • Face – has the patient’s 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 dial 999 if you notice any of these signs

A stroke is a medical emergency which requires immediate attention. The sooner somebody who has had a stroke gets medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.

‘Mini strokes’

People can sometimes suffer a ‘mini stroke’ which is similar but gets better usually within 24 hours. However, this could be a warning sign of a more serious stroke to come, so it also needs to be treated as an emergency.

A person’s risk of suffering a stroke is higher if they have certain medical conditions, which include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat)
  • Diabetes

Also, lifestyle choices such as smoking, being overweight, taking little exercise, eating a poor diet and drinking excessive alcohol also increase the risk of having a stroke.

Find out more

More information about stroke is available from: