reviewed 10/15/2019

Stroke warning signs

Learn the signs and know how to respond.

Signs of a stroke: F.A.S.T.

The signs of a stroke often appear suddenly—and they require fast action.


Face drooping. Does one side of the face droop? Is it numb?

How to check. Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven?


Arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb?

How to check. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?


Speech difficulty. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand?

How to check. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like "the sky is blue." Can he or she repeat it correctly?


Time to call 911. If someone shows any of these signs, call 911 immediately—even if the signs go away. Make sure to note the time when the first symptoms appeared.

Other signs:

  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of a leg.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.

If someone shows any of these signs, call 911 right away.

Source: American Stroke Association

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This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual's particular health plan.