Recognize signs of stroke  




FAST is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you'll know that you need to call the national emergency number 911 in USA, 999 in UK, 112 in Europe right away.





Face Drooping

Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the mouth crooked while the person is smiling? Ask to smile and show the teeth.



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? Ask simple questions like: What day of the week is it today? Where are we now?

Note slurred and confused speech.


Time to call the emergency number

If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call the emergency number and get the person to the hospital immediately.

Remember the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. It is important to know this, because the treatment of a stroke that occurred recently is different from a stroke that occurred longer ago.


Sudden symptoms: (symptoms vary per person)

These are the alarm bells:

  • Sudden weakness or paralysis in the arm, leg, or on one side of the body; in arm or leg. Sleeping leg. Not being able to steer the arm properly; as if your arm has a life of its own. Not being able to write anymore. Altered handwriting
  • Crooked tongue
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Drooping half of face; one corner of the mouth, one eyelid
  • The pupil of that eye with drooping eyelid may be very small
  • Decreased vision with one or both eyes. Loss of vision, shrinking field of vision. Dark spot in the corner of the eye. Sudden loss of vision in one eye, drooping eye or double vision. Rolling eyes
  • Decrease in power
  • Decrease in coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever, hiccups or difficulty swallowing. Balance disorders
  • Very severe headache that comes on suddenly
  • Stabbing headache. Migraine in people who suffer from it Sometimes there is a feeling as if pins are stuck in the head
  • Decreased consciousness, loss of consciousness or sudden drowsiness
    • including wanting to sleep a lot
  • Slurred or confused speech
  • Language problems, speaking more slowly or with difficulty or being unable to speak
  • Being disoriented, appearing confused
  • Difficulty understanding spoken language
  • Numbness on one side of the body, not being fully in the here and now
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing or coughing
  • Just a fall, falling over
  • Some people behave as if they were drunk
  • Emotional lability
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Just feeling a 'snap' in the head and knowing that something is going on
  • Not being able to think
  • Not being able to read
  • Feeling bad
  • Seeing rainbow colors around lights
  • Seeing spots

Some people have been sent home with a burnout diagnosis. It turned out to be a stroke (CVA).



A stroke is a non-congenital brain injury.

Of all strokes approximately:

  • 80% is a cerebral infarction
  • 20% is a cerebral hemorrhage

We have several pages about the different types of cerebral hemorrhage and several pages about the different cerebral infarctions.

We describe the complaints per artery on the page about the blood vessels of the brain.



On the physical consequences page we discuss in detail all possible physical consequences.


See also the following pages:


More information: