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Stroke warning signs: Call 911

  • Act FAST

    Face - Smile. Does one side droop?

    Arms - Is one side weak or numb?

    Speech - Is your speech slurred? Are you unable to repeat a sentence?

    Time - Call 911 if you have any symptoms.

    Warning signs of stroke may last a short time and disappear. They often start when you wake up. These are signs of a serious medical condition.

    If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 right away:

    • weakness - sudden weakness, numbness or paralysis in an arm, hand, leg or facial muscles, usually only on one side of the body
    • vision - sudden blurred double vision or dimness in one or both of the eyes
    • confusion - sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding language, or thinking
    • loss of balance - sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
    • headache - sudden severe headache ("the worst headache of your life") with no known cause.
  • Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Understanding Stroke: Information about Stroke and Recovery, fourth edition, ISBN 1-931876-13-4
    Reviewed by: Allina Health Patient Education experts
    First published: 02/01/2006
    Last reviewed: 04/02/2013