Although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. The effects of a stroke range from mild to severe and can include paralysis, problems with thinking, problems with speaking, and emotional problems. Patients may also experience pain or numbness after a stroke. 

One of the reasons why stroke is a leading cause of death and disability is a lack of awareness of the signs and symptoms of stroke and what to do when they are encountered. 

Call 911 immediately if you or a loved one experience the symptoms of stroke. The sooner you arrive at the hospital, the better the outcome. Every minute counts!


  • F is for facial numbness or weakness, especially on one side. Ask the person to smile. Does their face look uneven? 
  • A is for arm numbness or weakness, especially on one side. Can the person raise both arms? Does one arm drift down or is it unable to move? 
  • S is for slurred speech, or difficulty speaking or understanding. Does the person's speech sound strange or are they unable to speak? 
  • T is for time; it’s time to call 911 because every second counts.

Additional Symptoms

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.