Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
What are the most common symptoms of stroke?
The following are the most common symptoms of stroke. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. If any of these symptoms are present, call 911 (or your local ambulance service) immediately. Treatment is most effective when started immediately.
Symptoms may be sudden and include:
Weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
Confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding
Problems with vision, such as dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes
Dizziness or problems with balance or coordination
Problems with movement or walking
Loss of consciousness or seizure
Severe headaches with no other known cause, especially if sudden onset
All of the above warning signs may not occur with each stroke. Do not ignore any of the warning signs. Even if they go away, take action immediately. The symptoms of stroke may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
What are some other symptoms of stroke?
Other, less common, symptoms of stroke may include the following:
Sudden nausea or vomiting not caused by a viral illness
Brief loss or change of consciousness, such as fainting, confusion, seizures, or coma
Transient ischemic attack (TIA), or "mini-stroke"
A TIA can cause many of the same symptoms as a stroke, but TIA symptoms are transient and last for a few minutes or up to 24 hours. Call for medical help immediately if you suspect a person is having a TIA, as it may be a warning sign that a stroke is about to occur. Not all strokes, however, are preceded by TIAs.
- Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
- MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician