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Signs of Stroke

When You See A Stroke, Act Fast! Call 911.

When you recognize these signs of a stroke, act FAST!

  • Face: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven or lopsided?
  • Arms: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward
  • Speech: 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 person able to correctly repeat the words?
  • Time: If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and say, "I think this is a stroke" to help get the person to the hospital immediately. Time is important! Don't delay, and also note the time when the first symptoms appeared. Emergency responders will want to know.

Did you know that most people ignore the first signs of a stroke?

Most people ignore early warning signs like loss of balance, inability to move an arm or loss of coherent speech because there is often no pain involved.

Here is what to look for:

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

Less common stroke symptoms:

  • Sudden nausea, fever and vomiting distinguished from a viral illness by the speed of onset (minutes or hours vs. several days)
  • Brief loss of consciousness or period of decreased consciousness (fainting, confusion, convulsions or coma)

Remember: "Time saved is brain saved!"

If you are in the Syracuse region, insist on Upstate University Hospital's Stroke Center. It's not only the first NYS Designated Stroke Center, the Upstate Comprehensive Stroke Center has been awarded Gold Plus Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Center accredited by the American Heart and Stroke Associations. 

If you're not in the Syracuse region, your EMS crew will take you to the nearest hospital either for immediate treatment or to stabilize you so you can be transferred to an appropriate treatment center.

Note: You can insist that your EMS crew take you to a specific hospital (like Upstate's Stroke Center) even if that hospital is closed to other emergencies. Upstate is never on diversion for potential stroke!

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