Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Strokes occur very suddenly, and it is important to act quickly if you or someone you know has experienced any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden onset weakness or paralysis of an arm, leg, side of the face
  • Sudden onset numbness, tingling, decreased sensation
  • Sudden Vision changes
  • Sudden onset slurred speech, inability to speak or understand speech, or difficulty reading or writing
  • Swallowing difficulties or drooling
  • Sudden onset vertigo (spinning sensation)
  • Sudden Loss of balance or coordination

The symptoms of stroke depend on what part of the brain is damaged. In some cases, a person may not even be aware that he or she has had a stroke.

The American Stroke Association recommends evaluating the five following behaviors to determine if symptoms are due to a stroke:

  • Walk - Is the patient's balance off?
  • Talk - Is the patient's face droopy or speech slurred?
  • Reach - Is one side weak or numb?
  • See - Is the patient's vision all or partially lost?
  • Feel - Is the patient's headache severe?

Don't wait. Call 9-1-1! If you see one of these symptoms, and even if it goes away, call 9-1-1 immediately. This person may be having a stroke. If a patient can receive treatment within the first few hours after onset, there is a greater chance for improvement.