Stroke Home > Symptoms of a Stroke

With a stroke, symptoms usually occur suddenly and may include difficulty speaking or understanding speech, confusion, and trouble seeing in one or both eyes. Other stroke-related symptoms can include dizziness, loss of balance, severe headache, and weakness or numbness in the face or limbs (especially on one side of the body). Recognizing the signs and symptoms -- and getting help immediately if they appear -- can save people's lives and enhance the chances for successful recovery.

Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke: An Introduction

People may not realize that they are having a stroke when symptoms first develop because a stroke injures the brain. To a bystander, someone having a stroke may look unaware or confused. A person who has a stroke will have the best chance of a successful recovery if someone around them recognizes the symptoms of a stroke and acts quickly.

Specific Stroke Symptoms

The symptoms of a stroke are distinct because they happen quickly. These symptoms can include sudden:
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Headache with no known cause
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body).
Other possible symptoms of a stroke that are less common, but still important, are sudden nausea, vomiting, brief loss of consciousness, or decreased consciousness (such as fainting and convulsions).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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