Minutes Matter During a Stroke

Medical Intel from MedStar Washington Hospital Center

Think FAST: Minutes Matter During a Stroke

Minutes matter when doctors are trying to limit or reverse brain damage caused by a stroke. Know the warning signs, recognize your symptoms, and call 9-1-1 to get to a Stroke Center quickly. The earlier treatment begins, the better the outcome.

If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the individual have high blood pressure?
  • Does he or she smoke?
  • Is the individual overweight or obese?
  • Does he or she get regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes on most or all days)?
  • Does he or she have diabetes?
  • Is there a family history of stroke?

Then think FAST.

  • Face: Ask the individual to smile. An inability to smile or one-sided expression could indicate a stroke.
  • Arms: Ask the individual to raise both arms. One-sided muscle weakness or paralysis may indicate a stroke.
  • Speech: Ask the individual to say a simple sentence. Slurred speech or difficulty speaking are also signs of stroke.
  • Time: Call 9-1-1. Reduce the time for receiving medical attention. Delay in receiving medical attention may increase the possibility of permanent damage or death.

Other signs and symptoms of stroke to look for:

  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden severe headache with no known
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is home to the region’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center, and is at the forefront of care for patients with the most severe and complex strokes.

If you think you may be having a stroke, call 911. To schedule a consultation, call


As heard on WTOP Radio:

Amie Hsia, MD

Amie Hsia, MD
MedStar Washington Hospital Center

Amie Hsia, MD
Vascular Neurologist, Medical Director of Comprehensive Stroke Center, MedStar Washington Hospital Center

A massive stroke almost took Joe’s life. Our expert team made a lifesaving difference.

To schedule a consultation, call 202-759-0267.