Know the BE FAST Stroke Signs and Act Quickly

Gulf Coast Healthy Living Magazine Volume 8, Issue 2 - Baptist Health Care - Stroke

Know the BE FAST stroke signs

While on the phone with her grandmother one evening, Mandy noticed that her granny’s speech did not quite make sense. Mandy did not dwell on it at the time because her grandmother would occasionally mix up words or spend time thinking of a word she wanted to say. Mandy thought her granny perhaps just had a long day and was tired. At the close of the conversation, Mandy expressed love for her grandmother and simply said goodnight. 

A few days later Mandy learned that her granny had suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA). She realized that if she had known stroke signs to look for, she could have contacted family members who lived closer to her grandmother and suggested they check in on her. Being educated and informed more about stroke symptoms can help reduce time to take action when a stroke is suspected. 

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is disrupted, resulting from a blood vessel being blocked or ruptured. When either of these happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage may occur. Many strokes can be prevented with knowledge and quick action. 

Margo Kermon, BSN, R.N., stroke coordinator at Baptist Health Care, believes community education is key to helping prevent strokes. She and her team offer ongoing classes and outreach to help with stroke awareness.

The acronym FAST (face, arm, speech and time) was used for many years to help with stroke recognition. In 2017, an expanded study revealed and suggested that two additional symptoms be added to help identify more strokes. The letters B and E (balance and eyes) were added in front of the phrase FAST. 

Individuals experiencing a stroke toward the back of the brain may be off balance or have trouble walking. In addition, those people may have sudden vision loss in one or both eyes. Facial drooping and arm weakness on one side of the body are common signs of a stroke happening on the front of the brain. Someone having difficulty speaking may be in the middle of a stroke. Time is critical. Baptist Health Care provides tPA and clot retrieval for eligible candidates. 

  • Balance

Sudden loss of balance or coordination

  • Eyes

Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes

  • Face

Sudden drooping on one side of the face

  • Arm

Sudden weakness in one arm or leg

  • Speech

Sudden trouble with speech or understanding

  • Time

Time to call 911

To read more about the BE FAST Stroke signs please read Gulf Coast Healthy Living - Spring 2019 edition or visit