Each year, approximately 10,000 Irish people have a stroke and around 2,000 die as a result of stroke. This represents more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer combined.

Someone who is having a stroke often can’t express what is happening to them. So it is the people around them who can make all the difference.

A stroke needs treatment ASAP! With every minute that ticks by, strokes cause the loss of millions of brain cells that affect movement, memory, and speech. Speedy treatment to restart blood flow to the brain enhances the chance of recovery and reduces long-term damage. The most effective treatments need to be administered within three hours of the first symptoms.

Would you know how to recognise if someone was having a stroke? Would you know what to do?

On World Stroke Day (October 29th), it is important to reinforce the F.A.S.T message.

So what is it?


Face – check if their face fallen on one side?  Can they smile?

Arms – check if they can they raise both arms and keep them there?

Speech – check if their speech is slurred?

Time to call 999 if you spot any single one of these signs.

World Stroke Day_Aut Even_FAST Campaign

Stroke warning signs materialize quickly. Watch out for:

  • Paralysis, numbness, or weakness of the arms, legs, and face. A stroke generally affects only one side of the body.
  • Dizziness and a lack of coordination or balance.
  • Problems speaking or understanding people.
  • Blurred vision in one or both eyes.
  • A severe headache that’s not associated with another health problem.

Women suffer some unique symptoms that may not be as widely recognised. Keep an eye out for these, especially when they appear in combination with one or more of the above symptoms:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Hallucination
  • Seizures
  • Hiccups

Another type of stroke is the mini-stroke, also known as a warning stroke. This has the same symptoms of a major stroke but usually lasts only a few minutes to an hour before fading away. Do not ignore it! About a third of people who suffer this transient ischemic attack (TIA) experience a full-blown stroke within a year.