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Stroke Signs & Symptoms

A stroke is an interruption in the blood flow to our brain from either a clot or a break in the blood vessel.

man clutching his chest

It is critical for someone who is experiencing signs or symptoms of a stroke to be transported to the hospital by trained medical personnel immediately. Early recognition is key, and a stroke is a medical emergency.

On average, every four minutes someone dies of stroke. When a stroke occurs, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it begins to die. Brain function, future abilities and life itself are threatened every minute a stroke goes untreated. Every minute the brain is without oxygen, 2 million brain cells die.


  - Balance difficulty: Sudden loss of balance or coordination, weakness or dizziness

E  - Eye changes: Sudden onset of vision changes in one or both eyes

F  - Face drooping: Sudden onset of facial drooping, usually on one side

A  - Arm weakness: Sudden weakness or numbness in the arm, leg or face, usually on one side of the body

S  - Slurred speech: Sudden onset of trouble speaking or difficulty in understanding speech

T  - Terrible headache: Sudden onset of severe headache with no known cause


If you experience any of the signs or symptoms of a stroke, don't take chances. Call 911.

Risk Factors

Risk factors such as age, genetics, gender and race cannot be controlled. However, there are several risk factors that you can control. If your health care provider has already identified that you have any of these risk factors, it is very important to create a plan to help reduce your risk of stroke.

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Alcohol consumption and illegal drug use
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Abnormal cholesterol
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease