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Act F.A.S.T.

Wong Shu Lee  


  October 28, 2021


Stroke is one of the top five leading causes of death and one of the top 10 causes for hospitalization in Malaysia. Stroke is also in the top five diseases with the greatest burden of disease, based on disability-adjusted life years. 


In conjunction with the World Stroke Day that is held on 29th October every year, we would like to take the opportunity to raise awareness of the disease. 


The theme of the World Stroke Day campaign this year is #Precioustime, which emphasizes the awareness of stroke signs and the benefits of timely access to emergency medical care.


When somebody has a stroke, every second that goes by is crucial. As brain tissue and millions of neurons begin to fade away, time could not be more precious. By knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, you can take quick action and perhaps save a life—maybe even your own. 


Signs of Stroke in Men and Women


  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.


Acting F.A.S.T. Is Key for Stroke


Acting F.A.S.T. can help stroke patients get the treatments they desperately need. The stroke treatments that work best are available only if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within 3 hours of the first symptoms. Stroke patients may not be eligible for these if they don’t arrive at the hospital in time.


If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do the following simple test:


F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?


A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?


S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?


T—Time: If you see any of these signs, call 9-9-9 or 1-1-2 right away for an ambulance.


If your symptoms go away after a few minutes, you may have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Although brief, a TIA is a sign of a serious condition that will not go away without medical help. Unfortunately, because TIAs clear up, many people ignore them. But paying attention to a TIA can save your life. Tell your health care team about your symptoms right away. 


For most young people, the chance of having a stroke seems like an impossibility — but there is no such thing as being too young for a stroke. It’s true that your stroke risk increases with age, but stroke in young people — even infants, children, and adolescents — does happen. 


Even though the overall rate of stroke is decreasing, especially in people over age 65, it’s actually increasing among young and middle-aged people. 


Thus, let’s develop healthy lifestyle habits while you’re young to help reduce your risk of stroke at any age. Being aware of the signs of stroke is also very important because this knowledge can save your or your loved ones’ life. 


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