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Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

A stroke happens very fast and without warning. Knowing the signs and acting quickly can greatly affect your survival and level of recovery. If you think you or someone else may be having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately -- even if the symptoms go away.

Try to note when the symptoms begin. The length of time from onset is important to guide treatment decisions. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the chance of brain damage and disability. To receive the full benefit of treatment, get to the hospital within one hour.  

 GiveMe5ForStrokeLogo Give Me 5 For Stroke is an initiative of the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American Heart Association/Stroke Association.

Use these guidelines to identify the most common stroke symptoms:

  • WALK
    Loss of balance, stumbling, slumping to one side, dragging one foot, or leaning toward one side.
  • TALK
    Slurred speech, difficulty forming words or making sense, drooping mouth.
  • REACH
    Numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body. Inability to raise both arms over head at the same time or problems or holding a small object such as a pen.
  • SEE
    Sudden blurred or double vision, eye pain, or seeing only part of the visual field.
  • FEEL
    Sudden and severe headache, which may worsen from exposure to light or noise, may be accompanied by vomiting.