Stroke’s Early Warning Signs

It kills more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer. Yet how much do they really know about stroke?

Every year, over 15 million people globally suffer stroke. That person could be your friend, workmate, family member, or even yourself.


Use the FAST test

Being able to quickly identify the signs of stroke is essential, because the faster you get to hospital for treatment, the better your chance of survival and of making a good recovery.

To help you recognise stroke symptoms and act quickly, there’s a simple acronym everyone should learn, says the Stroke Foundation – the word FAST:

Face: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? Can they smile?

Arms: Can they lift both arms?

Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time: Is critical. If you see any of these signs call emergency services straight away.

The most common signs of stroke are facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech. But they are not only signs. Other signs that may occur alone or in combination include:

  • weakness
  • numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg
  • dizziness
  • loss of balance, or an unexplained fall
  • loss of vision
  • sudden blurring or decreased vision
  • headache, often severe and abrupt
  • difficulty swallowing

A stroke is always a medical emergency. Don’t put off calling an ambulance, even if you think you’re making a fuss over nothing, or the signs disappear within a short space of time. If you suspect stroke, no matter how long the symptoms last, call emergency services immediately. The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage.


Over 80% of strokes can be prevented

High blood pressure is the most important known risk factor for stroke. Reduce your risk by making time for a health check with your GP for all stroke risk factors. Take charge of your health too, by a healthy lifestyle – being active, eating well, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation.