Warning Signs of Possible Stroke

CT scan of brains highlighting a tumor

There are several warning signs of possible stroke:

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

Think FAST

If you or someone you're with has any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 or get yourself or them to a hospital immediately. Staff in the emergency department will administer acute stroke medications to try to stop a stroke while it is happening. Ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, is treated with the 'clot-busting' drug known as tPA. The drug must be given to patients within three- to four-and-a-half hours after the onset of stroke symptoms, and preferably sooner.

Use the acronym FAST to quickly identify possible strokes:

Smile. Does one side of the face droop? Can you see the same number of teeth on each side of the face?

Hold up both arms for 10 seconds. Does one drift downward?

Repeat a simple sentence. Is the speech slurred or strange? Can you understand the person?

If these signs are present, every second counts. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Stroke Risk Factors 

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol
  • Heart Disease
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Smoking (including second-hand smoke)
  • Heavy alcohol usage
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being overweight
  • Use of birth control pills, anticoagulants, and steroids
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation, endocarditis, and cardiomyopathy

Preventing Stroke

The best way to keep your brain healthy is to avoid a stroke in the first place. The best ways to prevent stroke are to do the following:

  • Keep your blood pressure controlled through lifestyle changes and/or medications
  • Don't smoke or stop smoking
  • Take steps to manage your cholesterol
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Learn more about stroke services at Spring Valley Hospital >