The following are the most common stroke warning signs. These may be sudden and include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden trouble speaking or understanding, confused
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Women may report unique stroke symptoms, including:
- Sudden face and limb pain
- Sudden hiccups
- Sudden nausea
- Sudden general weakness
- Sudden chest pain
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Sudden palpitations
Go to the ER immediately if experiencing any of the symptoms. Time is brain tissue.
Medical Conditions that Can Increase the Risk of Stroke
- Previous stroke or "mini-stroke", also known as a transient ischemic attack or TIA
- High blood pressure (hypertension is one of the leading risks for heart disease and stroke)
- Heart disease, especially atrial fibrillation (a-fib)
What to Do if You Suspect Someone is Having a Stroke
You can perform these simple steps in order. You might want to remember: Act FAST!
F Ask the person to smile. Does the FACE look uneven?
A Is the person able to raise both ARMS and hold to the count of 10? Does one arm tend to drift downward?
S Is the person’s SPEECH slurred? Can they repeat a simple sentence? You can use the following: “They heard him speak on the radio last night.”
T If you suspect a stroke it is TIME to call 911 NOW!
Illustrations courtesy of National Stroke Association. Used with permission.