State Agencies | Online Services

What are the warning signs of stroke?

The warning signs of stroke can be any of the following:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or trouble understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you notice any warning sign of stroke in yourself or in another person, call 9-1-1 immediately. A warning sign of stroke may last only a few minutes. Even if a warning sign of stroke stops right away, this is still a serious medical emergency and you should call 9-1-1 immediately. Emergency medical assessment is important to identify treatment needs and manage the risk of a second stroke. A "mini stroke" can be followed by a large, devastating stroke.


F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you will know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. stands for:

  Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven? 
  Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.

For more information, click on the resources below from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association:

Learn More Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms

Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. App for iPhone

Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. App for Android


 Page Updated  05/29/2015