Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability. Learning to identify the signs and symptoms can save someone’s life. However, you need to act FAST.

Face drooping — Does one side of the individual’s face droop? When you ask them to smile, is the individual’s smile uneven?

Arm weakness — Can the person raise both arms? Is one arm weak? Is one arm numb? Does one arm drift downward?

Speech difficulty — Is the individual slurring their speech? Are they unable to speak? Can you understand what the person is saying? Can they repeat a simple sentence when asked?

Time to dial 911 — If an individual has any of these symptoms, dial 911 immediately. Call even if the symptoms go away. Try to note the time the symptoms first appeared.

Other symptoms to watch for

Someone having a stroke may also show these symptoms:

  • Sudden leg numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion and trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness or trouble walking
  • Sudden loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache

Signs of a posterior circulation stroke

Posterior circulation strokes happen in the back portion of the brain. They can be very different from those that occur in the front of the brain. The symptoms and signs can also be very different. Here is what to look out for:

  • Vertigo (the room is spinning)
  • Imbalance
  • Arm or leg weakness on one side
  • Slurred speech
  • Double vision and other vision problems
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting

For more information visit the American Stroke Association or call 1-888-4-STROKE.