National Stroke Week may be over for another year, but raising awareness of the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke is an ongoing mission we can all embrace.

I was heartened by the thousands of volunteers right around the country who took part in events throughout September 2-8 to raise awareness of stroke and its symptoms in their local communities.

On behalf of the Stroke Foundation, I can’t thank you enough.

I encourage all Australians to keep sharing the potentially life-saving F.A.S.T. acronym with their friends, family and colleagues all year round. It involves asking these simple questions if you suspect a stroke:

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms – Can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – is critical If you see any of these signs call triple zero (000) straight away

The more people who know this message and call triple zero at the first sign of stroke, the better.

Stroke is a devastating disease that strikes the brain and can change lives in an instant, but thanks to medical advancements in recent decades many people are able to make a good recovery if they are treated quickly and the damage is stopped.

While 80 percent of strokes display one or more of the F.A.S.T. signs, other symptoms can present including dizziness, loss of balance or vision, headache and difficulty swallowing.

Remember, anyone can have a stroke. If you or someone else experiences any of the signs of stroke, even if they last a few minutes, call triple zero (000) immediately. Taking FAST action could save a life.

Sharon McGowan
Chief Executive Officer
Stroke Foundation