A stroke is an acute, life-threatening circulatory disorder in the brain caused by a narrowed artery or cerebral hemorrhage. The result is an insufficient supply of the nerve cells with oxygen and nutrients.

If this condition is left untreated for too long, nerve cells will die. The consequences of a stroke depend largely on the time it takes to initiate adequate therapy. It is therefore important to recognize the symptoms of a stroke as early as possible in order to enable rapid transport to a specialized hospital.

In order to check whether a stroke has occurred or not, there are some tests that also enable laypeople to make a qualified decision.

Also read: Symptoms of a stroke

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What is the FAST test?

The so-called FAST test is a clinical rapid test from the English-speaking world that tests the most common symptoms of a stroke. Since no tools or instructions are required, it can be carried out by anyone, including the person concerned.
"NEARLY" means on the one hand "fast" and underlines the fastest possible action in the event of a suspected stroke. On the other hand, the word is also an acronym, so that each letter stands for its own word.

  • F stands for "face",
  • A for "arms",
  • S for "speech" and
  • T for "time".

Also read: Signs of a stroke

How do I do it

The FAST test is very easy to carry out and can be carried out by anyone, even without medical knowledge.

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  • First you ask the person concerned to smile or to pull the corners of the mouth up.

If this is not possible on one side or is only possible to a lesser extent, this speaks for a hemiplegic facial paralysis.

  • To test the arms, the person is asked to simultaneously hold both arms forward with the palms of the hands facing up.

In the presence of a stroke, a lowering of the arm on one side and / or the rotation of the palm to the middle side of the body can usually be observed.

  • To check whether the language center has had a stroke, ask the person to repeat any sentence.

If there is a stroke, repeating it may no longer be possible or the language may sound slurred and disheveled.
Please also read: Stroke of the language center

  • The last aspect, T for time, again indicates the relevance of the fastest possible therapy.

This is only possible if the emergency service is called as soon as the suspicion of a stroke can be expressed based on the above tests. The emergency number 112, which can be used to make an emergency call, applies throughout Europe.

Also read: stroke

Tongue test

In addition to the FAST test, the tongue test can also be useful as a supplementary test.

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  • Here, the person concerned is asked to stick their tongue out as far as possible.

If there is a stroke with hemiplegia, the tongue is bent in one direction or twisted to the side. However, this test should always be combined with the FAST test.

To stand on one leg

Standing on one leg can also be a helpful test in determining whether or not you have a stroke. However, there are a few things to consider here.

  • Older people are usually only able to stand on one leg to a limited extent without help, even without a stroke. That's how it is The validity of the test is limited from a certain age.
  • In the case of those affected who are still able to stand on one leg in their normal state, care must also be taken that they do not fall during the exercise, as a stroke can also severely impair balance. So the Test only with assistance be performed.

How sure is the result?

Even if the tests described do not offer absolute certainty about the presence of a stroke, abnormalities in each individual sub-area already indicate a severe neurological symptom that requires immediate clarification.

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Thus, every major abnormality should be clarified by a doctor. It is also important to understand that these tests only check for the most common symptoms of a stroke.

However, a stroke can be characterized by a number of other symptoms, such as Clouding of consciousness, dizziness, nausea, impaired vision, impaired sensation and many more.
Excluding a stroke can therefore also not be done with absolute certainty using these tests.

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Nevertheless, the FAST test offers laypeople a very good memory aid and guide in order to be able to detect most strokes at an early stage.

What do I do if the test is positive?

If the tests described above show clear abnormalities, an emergency call should be made immediately. This is possible across Europe under the number 112.

In addition to the information about the person concerned and the exact location, the suspicion of the presence of a stroke should always be expressed so that the emergency services can prepare optimally for the given situation and contact a specialized clinic.

When making an emergency call, it is still important to stay on the phone until the control center hangs up so that no questions remain unanswered that could be decisive for the operation.

You may also be interested in the following article: Stroke therapy


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