Identifying a Stroke

A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted. As a result brain cells get less of the oxygen and nutrients that they need. Some brain cells can become damaged and others can die. This can cause different effects depending on where it happens in your brain.

If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.  Even if the symptoms of a stroke disappear while you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive, you or the person having the stroke should still go to hospital for an assessment. 

How do I recognise the signs of a stroke? 

Our How to do the FAST test video runs through each stage of the FAST test to help you identify the most common signs of stroke. Learn how to do the FAST test and share it with your friends and family.

Recognising the signs of stroke and calling 999 is crucial, even if the symptoms pass. The quicker the person arrives at a specialist stroke unit, the quicker they will receive appropriate treatment.

Learn it. Share it. You could save a life.

Learn more about the symptoms of stroke -

The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person but usually begin suddenly. As different parts of your brain control different parts of your body, your symptoms will depend on the part of your brain affected and the extent of the damage. 

The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time. 

  • Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile or their mouth or eye may have drooped 
  • Arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of arm weakness or numbness in one arm
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake
  • Time – it is time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms