Stroke Warning Signs
Stroke warning signs should be reported to a medical professional as soon as they occur. It’s important to get to a hospital right away; treatment should be initiated as quickly as possible to help minimize long-term side effects. Most warning signs develop very quickly. The most common symptom is a sudden sensation of numbness or weakness on one side of the face, or in one arm or leg. This can make it difficult for a person to walk, raise their arms above their head, or hold onto items in their hand. Sometimes, one side of the face will visibly droop downward. Other common warning signs of a stroke include:
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Sudden confusion
- Difficulty speaking or understanding other people
- Blurred vision in one or both eyes (or, in severe cases, a complete loss of vision)
- Dizziness and difficulty walking
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headaches
- Difficulty breathing
The acronym F.A.S.T can be useful if you – or someone you know – is displaying the warning signs of a stroke. The guidelines are simple:
- (F) Face drooping?
- (A) Arm weakness?
- (S) Speech difficulty?
- (T) Time to call 9-1-1!
If these warning signs occur, it’s important to call for an ambulance. It is dangerous to attempt to drive to the hospital while experiencing a stroke; additionally, paramedics can monitor a patient’s vital signs and stabilize them while providing safe transportation to a stroke center for treatment. At Tampa General Hospital, our stroke team is present 24/7 to assess patients and provide the necessary emergency interventions. We are a comprehensive stroke center with a designated neuroscience ICU, equipped to provide essential treatments for all forms of stroke.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any stroke warning signs, call 9-1-1 immediately and ask to be transported to your nearest comprehensive stroke center.
For many individuals in the Tampa Bay area, that will be Tampa General Hospital.