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Q: My middle-school daughter came home from school and said they had been taught the "BE FAST" technique for recognizing stroke symptoms. I've only heard of "FAST"… when and why did that change and what are the BE letters for?

It's important to "BE FAST" in recognizing signs and symptoms of a stroke, because the faster someone gets treatment, the better his/her chances are for recovery. The "BE" part of "BE FAST" was introduced earlier last year. It stands for "Balance" and "Eye" symptoms. It was added to the "FAST" portion of the acronym ("Face," "Arm," "Speech" and "Time") to help catch more strokes affecting the back of the brain. Everyone should know "BE FAST" so they can look out for these sudden stroke symptoms and call 911 immediately: B) loss of balance; E) trouble with vision such as blurriness or double-vision in one or both eyes; F) drooping on one side of the face; A) weakness/numbness in one arm or leg; S) trouble with speech; T) and note the time the symptoms started when calling 911.

Cordia Y. Wan, MD


Pacific Permanente Group LLC
221 Mahalani Street
Wailuku, HI 96793