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What is a stroke?

A stroke or “brain attack” is most often caused by a clot or break in a blood vessel that interrupts the flow of blood to an area of the brain. When this happens, brains cell begin to die, causing brain damage and loss of speech, movement and/or memory.

Stroke warning signs and symptoms

Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke, increasing the risk of permanent brain damage, disability or even death. Know the signs of stroke so you can act quickly to get medical attention.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you'll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:

Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven? 

Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? 

Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly? 

Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.

The Stroke Center at Memorial Hospital

  • Stroke Team responds 24/7.
  • Acute intervention including tPA, the clot dissolving medication that can increase chances of a full recovery.
  • State-of-the-art diagnostic imaging, high speed CT scan and MRI.
  • Stroke-trained clinicians.
  • EMS and community outreach.