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Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Warning signs of stroke

Warning signs of stroke

How to spot stroke symptoms

Signs of stroke come on suddenly. The acronym BEFAST can help you remember the signs of a stroke. BEFAST stands for:


  • B is for balance — sudden loss of balance or coordination
  • E is for eyes — sudden blurred, double, or loss of vision
  • F is for face drooping — one side of the person’s face droops or is numb
  • A is for arm weakness — one of the person’s arms is weak, numb or doesn’t move at all
  • S is for speech difficulty — the person slurs or has difficulty forming words
  • T is for time to call 911 — if the person shows any of these symptoms
An infographic detailing the BEFAST acronym to help us remember the signs of  a stroke.

Other signs of stroke

Remembering the acronym BEFAST may help you identify a stroke, but not everyone has the same symptoms.

What to do about stroke warning signs

Call 9-1-1 immediately if a person shows any stroke symptoms, even if the symptoms go away. Tell the 9-1-1- operator, “I think this is a stroke” to help get you to the hospital immediately. Time is very important. The longer it takes to get help, the more damage is done to the brain.


Stroke is a sudden disruption in blood flow to the brain. Because stroke requires rapid assessment and treatment, time is critical to prevent permanent brain damage and long-term disability. In some cases, stroke may be fatal. Learn more about the causes and types of stroke.


Learn what to expect from stroke diagnosis and treatment.