Stroke Warning Signs & Symptoms

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)
  • Diabetes
  • 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! 

Stroke Warning Signs
Ask the person to smile. Does the FACE look uneven?

Stroke Symptoms
  Is the person able to raise both ARMS and hold to the count of 10? Does one arm tend to drift downward?

Stroke Awareness
  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.



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