Signs and Symptoms
Know the Warning Signs of Stroke
Since stroke involves the sudden disruption of blood flow, the symptoms of stroke are generally a loss or change in ability to perform specific functions. Stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention. While prevention is important, it is equally important to understand the warning signs or symptoms of a stroke so that a patient or patient’s family may act quickly to seek medical attention. Many people do not recognize when they are having a stroke; or if they notice symptoms, they often expect them to subside and may not act quickly enough to receive treatment. Similar to a heart attack, seeking immediate medical attention is critical for a chance for a positive stroke outcome and survival.
Stroke warning signs include the sudden onset of:
• Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
• Difficulty speaking or understanding; sluggish speech
• Blurred vision or trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Unexplained dizziness, confusion or loss or balance and coordination
• Sudden or severe headache with no known cause
If you notice any of the above symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately! Stroke is a medical emergency. Although other diseases or conditions may cause some of these symptoms, sudden onset is a key factor, and immediate medical attention is recommended to rule out a serious condition such as a stroke.
If you suspect that a family member or loved one is suffering a stroke, it is important to act FAST. Ask the person to do the following
Check for facial droop or an uneven smile.
Observe if one arm lags behind, or is not raised as high as the opposite arm. Also check to see if the person is unable to maintain both their arms at equal height.
Ask them to repeat a simple sentance, such as "the cow jumped over the moon." Check to see if the person’s speech is altered or slurred, or if they have difficulty understading.
Time - Call 9-1-1 and get to the hospital immediately.
Any one of these signs may be indicative of a stroke. If the person has one or more of these signs, call 911 immediately. Do NOT attempt to transport the person on your own to the hospital. Call 911 and ask the EMS driver to take the person to the stroke center in the area. Hopsitals can vary widely on their ability to treat acute stroke and the options that they offer in acute care of a stroke patient. Your EMS crew will be able to properly assess those capabilities and send them to the appropriate center.