Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

Signs and symptoms of a stroke in both men and women include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of your face or in one arm or leg
  • Loss of vision, strength, coordination, sensation, or speech, or trouble understanding speech. These symptoms may get worse over time.
  • Sudden dim vision, especially in one eye
  • Sudden loss of balance, sometimes along with vomiting, nausea, fever, hiccups, or trouble swallowing
  • Sudden and severe headache with no other cause, followed quickly by passing out
  • Fainting briefly
  • Dizziness or sudden falls with no clear cause

FAST Stroke Recognition

Experts use the acronym FAST to remind people how to recognize the signs of a stroke and what to do. FAST stands for:

  • Face. Tell the person to smile. Watch to see if their face droops.
  • Arms. Have the person raise both their arms. Watch to see if one is weak or sags.
  • Speech. Ask the person to say a simple phrase. Listen for slurred or strange-sounding words.
  • Time. Every minute counts. Call 911 right away.

When to Get Emergency Care for a Stroke

If you or someone with you shows any signs of stroke, don’t wait. Quick treatment is crucial to survival and recovery.

Call for emergency services. If the symptoms pass quickly, you might have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a brief blockage of blood flow to your brain that often comes before a stroke. Don’t ignore this warning sign.

Get to the hospital right away. Some treatments must begin within a few hours of symptoms. Early treatment can often help prevent death or disability.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on March 09, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

World Health Organization. 

Silbergleit, R. Academy of Emergency Medicine, 2005 Apr. 

Braunwld, E. (editor); et al, Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 16th Edition, McGraw-Hill Professional, July 23, 2004. 

Bendixen, B. and Ocava, L. Current Cardiology Report 2002, Mar. 

Berger C. Stroke. 2005, June. 

Roy, M. Journal of Association of Physicians of India, 2004, Dec.

CDC: “Stroke Signs and Symptoms.”

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