5 Warning Signs of a Stroke | USC Verdugo Hills Hospital

5 Warning Signs of a Stroke

5 Warning Signs of a Stroke

Learning about common stroke symptoms will empower you to recognize a stroke — in yourself or someone else — and get help without delay.

Stroke prevents blood flow to surrounding areas in the brain, which can result in debilitating or even fatal brain damage. In fact, stroke is a leading cause of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States.

The best way to increase the odds of surviving a stroke and recovery from stroke is to quickly identify stroke symptoms and get immediate help. Here are five key warning signs of a stroke to remember.

1. Sudden, severe headache

Debilitating headaches have numerous potential causes, but what sets a stroke headache apart is that it comes on suddenly and seemingly without cause.

2. Numbness or weakness

Sudden weakness or loss of feeling is often felt on one side of the face or body, causing problems with movement or facial expressions. You may also notice drooping on one side of the face.

3. Confusion or trouble speaking

A person having a stroke may experience memory loss or problems with situational awareness, or may lose their ability to understand language.

In other cases, they still understand language but are unable to talk. When this happens, you’ll notice slurred speech or that they can only express themselves nonverbally.

4. Dizziness or trouble walking

The affected person could have trouble walking in a straight line or staying on their feet. They may also experience nausea and vomiting. These stroke symptoms seem to be more common in women.

5. Sudden vision problems

A person having a stroke may complain of sudden vision loss or blurriness in one or both eyes. If they already rely on corrective lenses, they’ll suddenly find their glasses or contact lenses ineffective.

Remember to BEFAST.

All of these signs can be a lot to remember, so displaying this infographic somewhere for easy reference is a good idea. You can also learn the BEFAST acronym:

  • Balance (Loss of balance, dizziness)
  • Eyes (Blurry vision, loss of vision)
  • Face (Facial drooping, severe headache)
  • Arms (Weakness/numbness in the arms or legs)
  • Speech (Trouble speaking, confusion)
  • Time (Time to call 911 right away)

Call 911 as soon as you notice any signs of a stroke. Download the infographic and use it to remind yourself and your family members what stroke symptoms to watch for.

Warning signs of stroke