Know the Warning Signs of Stroke – Act F.A.S.T.

If you suspect a stroke, quick action—medical help within three hours after symptoms appear—saves brain cells and quality of life. There are many treatments and interventions for stroke that, if administered quickly, can vastly improve patient outcomes. Time=Brain.

Signs of Stroke


  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

Act F.A.S.T.

Face – Check yourself or ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Arms – Check yourself or ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech – Check yourself or ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?

Time – If you observe any of these symptoms, note the time they started and get help immediately. Call 9-1-1.

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Stroke Alert for Fast Response

When EMS notifies us of a potential stroke patient—or when someone with stroke symptoms arrives directly at our hospital—we call a Stroke Alert. That's our well-established and highly integrated process for fast response, diagnosis, and treatment of stroke.

  • Calling a Stroke Alert starts the process of delivering rapid treatment within the critical first three hours of a stroke and improves your chances of a more thorough recovery.
  • If you call 9-1-1 and you're identified as a stroke patient by EMS, our continuous treatment begins before you even get to the hospital—greatly improving the care you receive across our continuum of services.
  • Then, we follow you all the way through our ER, into intensive care, rehabilitation, and beyond.
We are the only hospital on the Seacoast to offer Endovascular Thrombectomy, or stent retriever — the lifesaving procedure featured on NBC Nightly News.

You can rely on us for the fast response and effective treatment you need to save your brain and protect your quality of life. Our stroke care program offers a range of medical and surgical interventions, as well as stroke rehabilitation services for people who may have experienced:

  • Ischemic stroke – Loss of blood flow to the brain, resulting from a clot-blocked artery
  • Hemorrhagic stroke – Bleeding into the brain, resulting from a ruptured artery in the brain
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – A brief episode from a temporary blood clot that starts like a stroke but resolves itself without noticeable symptoms

Find out more about stroke services at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.