What are symptoms and signs of a stroke?
- paralysis on one side of the body,
- problems with speaking or understanding speech,
- problems swallowing, or
- problems with vision.
Other symptoms can include:
Early stroke recognition saves lives
Recognizing the symptoms of stroke can be lifesaving. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, leading to the death of brain cells. Symptoms depend upon the exact location of the brain that is involved. There are certain drugs that can reverse the effects of stroke, but they need to be administered within a short time frame of the appearance of symptoms, so prompt recognition is essential. Strokes occur in both men and women and are most common in older people, but younger people can experience strokes in association with certain medical conditions.
FAST: an acronym to remember warning signs of a stroke
The National Stroke Association recommends that people use the acronym FAST to remember the signs of a stroke:
- Face: Ask the person to smile and see if one side of the face droops.
- Arms: Ask the person to raise their arms and note if one drifts downward.
- Speech: Ask the person to repeat a phrase and look for slurred or strange speech.
- Time: Act immediately and call 911 if these signs are present.
Medically reviewed by Joseph Carcione, DO; American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
"Warning Signs of Stroke." National Stroke Association.