Signs of Stroke

Stroke occurs when a clot or a broken blood vessel hinders blood flow in the brain. The result is destroyed brain cells. Getting medical help quickly increases chances for survival and minimizes brain damage. The success of newer treatments requires diagnosis within three hours of start of symptoms. If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do the following simple test.

Act F.A.S.T.

F = FACE - Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?

A = ARMS - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = SPEECH - Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can he or she repeat the sentence correctly?

T = TIME - If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 911 and get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.

Other stroke symptoms include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

On occasion, all the signs and symptoms of an acute stroke are present, but then go away quickly and completely. This is called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. This is still considered a medical emergency, and the person should get to the emergency room immediately. TIAs are warning signs of stroke, and the stroke may often occur within the first 24 hours after the TIA.

If you suspect you or someone you know is having a stroke, go to the St.Vincent Emergency Room nearest you right away.