Stroke Warning Signs

Both a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and a full-fledged stroke have the same symptoms. Therefore, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association recommend the F.A.S.T. tool below to identify stroke symptoms.


Face drooping. Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is it uneven?

Arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech difficulty. Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time. Call 9-1-1 immediately and get them to the hospital. Note the time the symptoms first appeared.

If someone shows ANY of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Time is precious when you’re having a stroke. The longer your brain goes without blood flow and oxygen, the greater the potential damage.

Other symptoms to be aware of are shown below.

Stroke Symptoms1

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

Share this information with family, friends, and co-workers so they, too, can recognize the symptoms of a stroke and know what to do.

To learn more about factors that can lead to strokes, see Stroke Risk Factors , or to learn more about how to prevent strokes, see Prevent Strokes.

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