Signs of a Stroke

Institutes & Services > Stroke Center

A Stroke: What Is It?

A stroke, also called a “brain attack,” happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. When blood flow is stopped the brain tissue does not get enough blood and oxygen to survive. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.

Signs of a Stroke

In order to determine if a loved one is experiencing a stroke, follow the BEFAST method:

  • Balance - Watch for a sudden loss of balance.
  • Eyes - Is there a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes? Or double vision?
  • Face - Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech - Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
  • Time - If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call 911.

Other symptoms may include:

  • A headache that starts suddenly (it may be severe), wakes you up from your sleep, or gets worse when you change positions, or when you bend, strain or cough
  • Change in alertness (including sleepiness, unconsciousness, and coma)
  • Changes in hearing
  • Changes in taste
  • Changes that affect touch and the ability to feel pain, pressure, or different temperatures
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion or loss of memory
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty writing or reading
  • Dizziness or abnormal feeling of movement (vertigo)
  • Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle weakness in the face, arm, or leg (on just one side)
  • Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
  • Personality, mood, or emotional changes
  • Problems with eyesight, including decreased vision, double vision, or total loss of vision
  • Trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking
  • Trouble walking

source: A.D.A.M. Health Library

Hospitals have safety measures in place to protect you. Also remember:

  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR if you have questions or think you need a health visit. Find a TriHealth physician.
  • DON’T DELAY routine care. You may be able to get advice over the telephone or use telehealth for a virtual visit.

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