Stroke Symptoms

Call 911 immediately if you think someone might be having a stroke. Getting medical treatment as soon as possible is key in preventing death or permanent disability from stroke. Learn to recognize stroke symptoms and act fast.

Associating FAST with stroke can help you remember stroke symptoms and that immediate medical treatment is crucial. Click To Tweet

Stroke symptoms

Stroke symptoms develop suddenly and they often affect just one side of the body:

  • difficulty speaking
  • confusion
  • loss of vision
  • intense headache
  • loss of coordination
  • difficulty walking
  • numbness in the face, arm, or leg

Seek immediate medical attention for a stroke.


The acronym FAST can help you remember stroke symptoms and that you need to act quickly if you think someone is having a stroke.

  • Face — Look for loss of vision or drooping on one side of the face.
  • Arms — Look for numbness, weakness, or difficulty controlling the arms or legs.
  • Speech —Look for confusion, speech problems, and difficulty understanding.
  • Time — Call 911 as soon as you think someone is having a stroke.

According to the American Heart Association, 87% of strokes are ischemic stroke. These strokes occur when blood flow is blocked to the brain. The brain is unable to get necessary nutrients and oxygen without proper blood flow. Brain cells can die within minutes of a stroke, which may result in brain damage, disability, or death.

Know your risk for stroke

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States; the highest concentration of strokes are in the southeastern U.S.

Understanding your risk for stroke can help you watch for signs of stroke and make lifestyle changes to help prevent a stroke.

  • Those who are overweight or obese are more likely to have a stroke than those at a healthy weight.
  • People with diabetes or heart disease are more likely to have a stroke than people without these conditions.
  • High blood pressure increases a person’s risk for having a stroke.
  • Unhealthy levels of cholesterol increase your risk for stroke.
  • Smokers have a higher risk for stroke than people who do not smoke.

There are things that you can do to lower your risk for stroke.