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Stroke Warning Signs

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. Without the blood, and the oxygen it carries, part of the brain begins to die. As a result, the part of the body controlled by the damaged area of the brain can't work properly.

Brain damage can begin in minutes. It's important to know the symptoms of stroke and act FAST. Quick treatment can limit damage to the brain and increase the chance of a full recovery.


A stroke may cause sudden:

  • Numbness, weakness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes. You may have double vision, or things may look dim or blurry.
  • Confusion or trouble understanding.
  • Slurred or garbled speech.
  • Trouble walking. You may feel unsteady, dizzy, or clumsy.
  • Severe headache.

If any of the above symptoms are present, TAKE ACTION!

  • Not all the warning signs occur in every stroke. Don't ignore signs of stroke, even if they go away!
  • Check the time. When did the first warning sign or symptom start? You'll be asked this important question later.
  • If you have one or more stroke symptoms that last more than a few minutes, don't delay! Immediately call 911 or the emergency medical service (EMS) so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can quickly be sent for you.
  • If you're with someone having stroke symptoms, immediately call 911 or the EMS. Expect the person to protest — denial is common. Don't take "no" for an answer. Insist on taking prompt action.
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