Know the Signs of a Stroke

The signs of stroke are distinct because they happen quickly:

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

To help make this easier to remember, think of the word FAST:

  • F is for facial numbness or weakness, especially on one side.
  • A is for arm numbness or weakness, especially on one side.
  • S is for slurred speech, or difficulty speaking or understanding.
  • T is for time; it’s time to call 911 because every second counts.

Stroke is a very serious problem in the United States and especially right here in our community. One of the reasons why stroke is a leading cause of death and disability is a lack of awareness—an awareness of the signs and symptoms of stroke and what to do when they are encountered.

We are making a concerted effort to raise stroke awareness in our community. This website is part of that effort. We hope you find this information useful, but more importantly, we hope it helps save lives and reverse a negative health trend in our community.

What should a bystander do?

Call 911 immediately if you experience the symptoms of stroke and take brain-saving action. The sooner you arrive at the hospital, the better the outcome. Every minute counts!

Treatment is available that may help those with the most common type of stroke—an ischemic (pronounced "is-skee-mick") stroke—recover with little or no disability. But for this treatment to work, patients need to arrive at a hospital as soon as possible after symptoms start. Remember, "Time lost is brain lost." Even if symptoms fade away, you should still get to the emergency room as soon as possible in order to have an evaluation.

The Know Stroke logo was developed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Much of the content on this site is based on content from the NINDS, the American Stroke Association, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Endovascular neurosurgeon Dr. Erik Hauck explains the need for prompt action at the onset of stroke symptoms.