It is important that once a person experiences stroke, they receive medical attention on an emergency basis. There are a number of ways to detect whether you or someone you know may be experiencing a stroke. If you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, don’t wait for the symptoms to pass, even if they come and go or even go away altogether. You should seek medical attention immediately.

The most common sign of stroke is sudden weakness of the face, arm or leg, most likely on one side of the body.

Signs and symptoms of a stroke may include:

  • Trouble with speech and understanding what others are saying. You may experience confusion, slur your words or have difficulty understanding others.
  • Problems seeing in one or both eyes. You may suddenly have blurred vision in one or both eyes, or you may see double.
  • Headache. A sudden, strong headache, with possibility of vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness.
  • Trouble moving. All of a sudden, you may begin stumbling or lose your balance and coordination.

It is key to notice the time the symptoms began. Some treatment options are most effective when given as soon as possible after a stroke occurs.

To detect whether someone next to you might be experiencing signs or symptoms of a stroke, ask them to repeat the following and pay attention to the response in their body:

  • Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm harder or unable to rise?
  • Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or unusual?

The signs of a stroke depend on various factors and each person may experience different stroke warning signs. It depends on the side of the brain that’s affected, the part of the brain affected, and the extent of the brain damage. Stroke may be accompanied by a headache, or may be completely painless.

Never try to diagnose or treat the problem yourself and do not leave it unattended even if the symptoms go away on their own. Even if the symptoms pass quickly without treatment, you should still seek medical help.

If you observe any of the stroke symptoms or signs, call 112 or your country’s medical emergency number immediately. Because stroke is a medical emergency that can lead to death or permanent disability, it is crucial that you seek prompt medical attention.