Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds and every three to four minutes, someone dies of stroke. It is the third leading cause of death in America yet the symptoms are often ignored until it’s too late for the most effective treatments. Would you recognize the signs of stroke or know what to do if you thought someone was having a stroke? Symptoms may be different between men and women:
Common stroke symptoms seen in both men and women:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg
-- especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Women may report unique stroke symptoms:
- sudden face and limb pain
- sudden hiccups
- sudden nausea
- sudden general weakness
- sudden chest pain
- sudden shortness of breath
- sudden palpitations
It is important to recognize stroke symptoms and act quickly. The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the patient arrives at the hospital with-in a three-hour window. These treatments may reverse the stroke itself or reduce the chance of long-term disability.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do this simple test:
F—FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A—ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S—SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T—TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Note the time when any symptoms first appeared and provide this information to healthcare providers as it can affect treatment decisions. Know the signs:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Stroke Association