Someone experiences a stroke every four seconds in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Learning a short acronym that can spot signs of a stroke can help save lives.

A stroke generally occurs when an artery in the body is blocked or an artery ruptures in the brain.

However, not all is lost. Strokes can be prevented and treated, especially if the person having a stroke is provided with quick and efficient medical care. Chances of a long-term disability and fatality are significantly reduced with prompt medical attention, CNET reported.

The acronym BEFAST is a scientifically-backed way to guide a person to help another having a stroke.

Aptly named, previous studies have shown that BEFAST increases the chances of missed strokes. It stands for Balance, Eyes, Face, Arm, Speech, Time.


The first sign of a stroke is imbalance. The person may feel dizzy and face difficulty walking.


The person may experience blurry vision. Double vision or blackness is also possible.


The face may start drooping from one side. Also, the face might not be able to function normally.


One might suddenly feel numbness or weakness in any arm. As a result, the person will not be able to raise one arm simultaneously with the other.


Speech may be affected. The person may have slurred speech or may speak incoherently.


It is time to call for help. If someone is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, especially to one side of the body, call 911 immediately.

Besides these signs, women might experience some additional symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, mind fogginess and memory issues, and nausea and vomiting, according to the outlet.

Risk factors associated with a stroke that cannot be controlled include family history and gender. Some other preventable factors that can be managed are

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • An excess of alcohol
  • Drug usage
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes

A different study found that people's blood types may be a factor in their risk for early stroke. Specifically, they found that those who had an early-onset stroke (EOS) were "more likely to have blood type A and less likely to have blood type O" compared to those who had either a late-onset stroke or who never had a stroke at all.

"We still don't know why blood type A would confer a higher risk, but it likely has something to do with blood-clotting factors like platelets and cells that line the blood vessels as well as other circulating proteins, all of which play a role in the development of blood clots," study co-principal investigator Steven Kittner said. "We clearly need more follow-up studies to clarify the mechanisms of increased stroke risk."