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What Are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

Strokes are a life-threatening medical event in which blood is cut off from the brain. Left untreated, a stroke can lead to permanent disabilities in brain and nerve function. Knowing the warning signs of a stroke, and acting quickly to get medical care, can significantly improve a patient's healthcare outcome.

If you or someone you know is displaying any of the symptoms listed below, immediately call 911 for transportation to the hospital for emergency care. Every second counts, so it's important to act quickly.

Recognize the Signs of a Stroke with the B.E. F.A.S.T. System

Healthcare providers recommend using the B.E. F.A.S.T. system to recognize the symptoms of a stroke either during or immediately after it occurs. B.E. F.A.S.T. is an acronym to help you remember the signs.

BE FAST – know the symptoms of stroke

  • Balance - Have you lost your balance, felt a sudden headache or felt dizzy?
  • Eyes - Is your vision blurry?
  • Face - Are you feeling numbness, or seeing drooping, on one side of your face?
  • Arm - Do you have feeling in both arms? Can you raise them both up without one drifting down?
  • Speech - Are you slurring your speech? Can you form coherent sentences?
  • Time - If any of the above symptoms are occurring, call 911 immediately.

Even if these symptoms are intermittent or disappear altogether, it's important to seek medical care as quickly as possible. While there are other health issues that can also cause these symptoms, such as an adverse reaction to medication or a brain tumor, only a physician or stroke emergency team can make this assessment. If it is a stroke, they will determine the type of stroke and the area of the brain that has been affected, which will inform the patient's treatment plan.

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