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)
  • Heart disease, especially atrial fibrillation (a-fib)

What to Do if You Suspect Someone is Having a Stroke

B.E. F.A.S.T and call 911 if you suspect someone is having stroke. Be sure to look for these symptoms:

B – Balance. Is there a loss of balance?  Try asking the person to walk in a straight line.
E – Eyes. Are they seeing double or cannot see out of one eye?
F – Face. Is one side of the face drooping?
A – Arm. Does one arm drift downward when both arms are lifted?
S – Speech. Are they slurring their words?
T – Time. When did the symptoms begin? Be sure to give this information to the paramedics.