Open Accessibility Menu

STROKE. Know the Signs. Remember to B.E.F.A.S.T.

STROKE. Know the Signs. Remember to B.E.F.A.S.T.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and can happen to anyone at any age.

When someone suffers a stroke, a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain becomes blocked or bursts. When blood cannot reach the brain, brain cells are starved of oxygen and die.

A stroke is a medical emergency. It is important to get care as soon as possible. Some treatments for stroke work only if given within the first three hours after symptoms start. A delay in care can raise the risk of permanent brain damage or death. So, when it comes to strokes, every second counts!

The longer someone having a stroke waits for treatment, the higher the chance of permanent damage or death. Knowing what signs to look for to identify a stroke will allow you to seek emergency help immediately and possibly save someone’s life. There is an easy acronym to help you spot the signs of a stroke: B.E.F.A.S.T.

B: Balance - Do they have a loss of balance, or are they dizzy? Are they walking differently?

E: Eyes - Can they see out of both eyes okay? Ask them if they have sudden vision loss or blurry or double vision.

F: Face - Does one side of their face look uneven or like it is drooping? Ask them if their face feels numb. Tell them to smile and check if their smile is uneven.

A: Arm - Does one of their arms feel numb? Ask them to raise both arms and see if one arm drifts downward.

S: Speech - Is their speech hard to understand? Do they seem confused? Are they having trouble understanding you?

T: Time - If someone has any of these warning signs, call 911. Note the time the first symptoms appeared, and share this information with the first responders.

North Oaks Health System is committed to providing high-quality stroke care at our Medical Center and Rehabilitation Hospital. North Oaks Medical Center is a certified Primary Stroke Center, earning The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval®, as well as the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for using best practices in providing prompt stroke intervention and care for improving patient outcomes.
North Oaks Medical Center is the only hospital on the Northshore to offer a minimally invasive technique called intracranial mechanical thrombectomy. This technique allows us to help more stroke victims regain movement, language and other abilities. In addition, North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital is one of ten facilities in Louisiana to offer a Stroke Specialty Program certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and it’s only one of two on the Northshore.
Talk to your primary care provider or visit North Oaks Stroke Care for more information on stroke. Additional resources are available through the American Stroke Association at or by calling 1-888-4-STROKE.