A stroke is an emergency situation. It’s important to know the signs of a stroke and get help quickly. Call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Treatment is most effective when started right away.
Stroke symptoms may happen suddenly. Each person’s symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
- Weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, usually on one side of the body
- Having trouble speaking or understanding
- Problems with vision, such as dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Dizziness or problems with balance or coordination
- Problems with movement or walking
- Fainting (loss of consciousness) or seizure
- Severe headaches with no known cause, especially if they happen suddenly
Other less common symptoms of stroke may include:
- Sudden nausea or vomiting not caused by a viral illness
- Brief loss or change of consciousness, such as fainting, confusion, seizures, or coma
- TIA, called a mini-stroke
A TIA can cause many of the same symptoms as a stroke. But TIA symptoms are passing. They can last for a few minutes or up to 24 hours. Call for medical help right away if you think someone is having a TIA. It may be a warning sign that a stroke is about to occur. But not all TIAs are followed by a stroke.
Get help FAST
FAST is an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke. When you see these signs, you will know that you need to call 911 fast. FAST stands for:
F - Face drooping. One side of the face is drooping or numb. When the person smiles, the smile is uneven.
A - Arm weakness. One arm is weak or numb. When the person lifts both arms at the same time, one arm may drift downward.
S - Speech difficulty. You may see slurred speech or difficulty speaking. The person can't repeat a simple sentence correctly when asked.
T - Time to call 911. If someone shows any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. Call even if the symptom goes away. Make note of the time the symptoms first appeared.