Key Signs of Strokes


Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

A stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease that affects the arteries leading to the brain. When one of these arteries is blocked by a clot or hemorrhage, part of the brain can’t get the blood and oxygen it needs. Its cells start to die. This is called a stroke. If you have a stroke, it’s important to get treatment immediately. Otherwise, parts of your body will stop functioning normally as more of the brain is affected. If you don’t get treatment soon enough, a stroke can be fatal.

What are the signs of a stroke?

  • Numbness or weakness on your face, arm, or leg. This will usually only be on one side of your body.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking, or trouble understanding speech.
  • Difficulty seeing in both eyes.
  • Difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or loss of coordination.
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

What should I do if I think I had a stroke?

It’s important to act right away if you think you or someone else may be having a stroke.

  1. Call 911 or Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Tell them you think you may be having a stroke.
  2. Record the time so you know when symptoms first appeared. This will help emergency services know how to treat you.
  3. An ambulance should be sent to your location.
  4. Severe headache with unknown cause.

For more information about strokes and how to prevent them, contact your health care provider or visit the American Heart Association’s Stroke website.