Stroke Home > Stroke Symptoms

Some of the signs and symptoms of a stroke may include sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech, confusion, and numbness or weakness in the face or limbs (especially on one side of the body). Other symptoms associated with a stroke can include dizziness, loss of balance, and vomiting. In general, symptoms appear suddenly; often, multiple symptoms are present at the same time. Call 911 immediately if you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke.

An Overview of Stroke Symptoms

Even though a stroke occurs in the unseen reaches of the brain, symptoms of a stroke can be easy to spot. As a general rule, symptoms with a stroke appear suddenly, and often there is more than one symptom present at the same time. Therefore, a stroke can usually be distinguished from other causes of dizziness or headache. The signs and symptoms discussed below may indicate that a person has had a stroke and requires medical attention immediately.

Specific Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

For a person having a stroke, the symptoms may vary depending on which part of the brain is affected. Examples of specific symptoms can include:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, hand, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes (such as double vision, blurred vision, or blindness)
  • Sudden dizziness, lightheadedness, or trouble walking
  • Sudden loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Sudden collapse
  • Seizures (in a small number of cases).
If you suspect you or someone you know is having a stroke, do not wait for the symptoms to worsen or improve. Call 911 immediately.
There are now effective therapies for stroke that need to be administered at a hospital; however, they lose their effectiveness if they are not received within the first three hours after stroke-related symptoms appear.
Also, keep in mind that it is common for a stroke victim to protest or deny that he or she is having a stroke. If you notice a person exhibiting any of the possible symptoms of a stroke discussed above, get help right away.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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