What are the symptoms of stroke?

Stroke symptoms come on suddenly and include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble talking, or trouble understanding what others are saying
  • Dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you believe you or someone you know is having any of these symptoms, do not wait. Call 911 immediately. A person suffering a stroke must receive medications as soon as possible at a hospital to prevent or minimize brain damage.

The symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) are similar to those of a more serious stroke, but unlike a serious stroke, a TIA usually lasts only a few minutes and goes away within an hour. However, it is impossible to tell the difference between the symptoms of a TIA and a more serious stroke. You should not wait to see if the symptoms go away. Assume that all stroke symptoms signal an emergency.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) provides detailed information about stroke and stroke symptoms.1,2


  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2012). Stroke: Hope through research. Retrieved August 7, 2012, from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Stroke-Information-Page
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Stroke. Retrieved August 7, 2012, from https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/
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