May is National Stroke Awareness Month: Know How to Recognize a Stroke and Respond

By Grace Bellinger, NPHR Blog Editor

Approximately 185,000 people die from strokes every year. While it is important to prevent stroke by living a healthy lifestyle, it is equally crucial to be able to recognize the symptoms of stroke in others. Time is of the essence when movement, speech, cognitive function, and survival are all at risk.

The key to responding to a potential stroke is the acronym F.A.S.T.

The image below by the American Stroke Association explains how to use the acronym to identify common stroke symptoms:


The time component is particularly important. In addition to calling 9-1-1 as soon as possible, you should also make note of the exact time the symptoms started. Quickly take a screenshot of your phone’s lock screen to capture the time you first noticed something was wrong. In the emergency room, doctors will need to know how much time has elapsed since the emergence of symptoms in order to inform their treatment plan. The only FDA-approved drug to treat a stroke involving blood vessel obstruction is tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). It is important to respond quickly and make note of the time because tPA can only be used within 3 to 4.5 hours of stroke onset.

To learn more about what happens during a stroke, check out this TED-Ed talk.

Being aware of your surroundings and knowledgeable about stroke symptoms may someday help you save the life of a loved one.



Understand Stroke | Retrieved from

Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms. Retrieved from

Stroke Treatments. Retrieved from




About NPHR Blog (339 Articles)
The is the blog of the Northwestern Public Health Review journal. The blog and journal are both student run and contain research articles, opinions, interviews and other content pertaining to public health.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: