Home Health ‘Act FAST’ if you spot the signs of a stroke
graphic with words when stroke strikes act fast

‘Act FAST’ if you spot the signs of a stroke

by Sandra Issar

The Act F.A.S.T. campaign has relaunched, reminding people of the symptoms of stroke and why urgently calling 999 is vital in saving lives.

The latest data shows a 12% drop in hospital attendances for stroke during the first lockdown of the pandemic, between March – April 2020.

Stroke is a medical emergency and anyone experiencing symptoms should seek urgent help. It is a time sensitive condition and any delay in getting treatment kills brain cells and has sadly and unnecessarily proven to be fatal in the early phase of the pandemic.

Early treatment not only saves lives but results in a greater chance of a better recovery, as well as a likely reduction in permanent disability from stroke.

Acting F.A.S.T save lives

Think and act F.A.S.T., the signs of stroke are:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time – time to call 999

Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:

“Whether it is a friend, loved one or even a stranger, dialing 999 quickly and acting F.A.S.T saves lives and gives stroke patients their best chance at recovery and could reduce the long-term effects. If you notice any single one of the signs of stroke, please call 999.”

Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association, added:

“Every five minutes, someone in the UK will have a stroke. Stroke kills tens of thousands and leaves others with complex and severe disability every year. Acting FAST is the biggest thing you can do to save a life. As soon as you see any of the signs of stroke in yourself or someone else, you need to call 999.


“Last year we saw thousands of people with suspected stroke put off calling 999 due to fear of catching COVID-19 or being a burden on the NHS. People could now be living with more severe disability than they otherwise would because they put off calling 999. That’s why you need to know that acting FAST and calling 999 saves lives.”

Stroke is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK and the single largest cause of complex disability. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention as every minute is vital.

Black people are twice as likely to have a stroke than white people. On average, people of black African, black Caribbean and South Asian descent in the UK have strokes at an earlier age. With COVID-19 disproportionately affecting these groups, there’s an even greater need to ensure that they aren’t being affected by other conditions.

Some other signs of stroke or mini stroke can include:

  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of your body (including in your leg)
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other signs

For information on stroke go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke