Stroke is a common cause of death and disability.
A stroke occurs when the supply of blood to part of the brain is suddenly disrupted. Blood flow can stop through the artery when it gets blocked by a blood clot or when an artery ruptures. Without the oxygen that the blood supplies, surrounding brain cells are quickly damaged and die. A quick response is needed. If treatment is provided quickly, some of these damaged brain cells can survive. Therefore, it is extremely important to recognise stroke quickly and to send for an ambulance immediately if stroke symptoms are present.
A person with the symptoms of stroke should be transported by ambulance because paramedics can start the management for stroke and make sure the person is taken to the most appropriate hospital for specialist stroke management. Paramedics can also notify the receiving hospital, reducing time to the start of treatment.
First aid providers can use stroke assessment systems such as F.A.S.T. for individuals with suspected acute stroke.
F.A.S.T. is a simple way for remembering the signs of stroke.
Other common symptoms of strokes include:
When there is doubt over diagnosis, the victim should be managed as having a stroke until proven otherwise.