FAST: Save a life

Ted Lowenkopf, M.D., explains FAST, an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke.

Stroke – there's treatment if you act FAST.

Call 911 at any sign of a stroke:



Face look uneven?
Ask the person to smile.



One arm numb or drifting down?
Ask the person to raise both arms.



Is speech slurred or jumbled?
Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.



Call 911 NOW!
If you notice any of these signs, don't wait. Call 911.

The best approach: Learn to recognize all of the signs of stroke

“Act F.A.S.T.” is easy to remember, but it leaves out some symptoms that could help you identify a stroke. Providence Stroke Center advocates learning all of the warning signs of stroke, as identified by the National Stroke Association.

These signs include:

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

This list may be harder to memorize, but it could help you recognize a stroke in time for you or a loved one to receive life-saving treatment. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any reason to believe that someone is having a stroke — even if only one of these symptoms is present. If you have any doubts, the 9-1-1 dispatcher can help determine the nature of the emergency and send help as needed.

For a free FAST magnet, e-mail us or call 503-216-1055.