Understanding the Signs of a Stroke

Watch for signs of stroke graphic

Did you know that one in four adults will suffer a stroke in their lifetime? According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

As part of National Stroke Awareness Month, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Stroke Center encourages everyone to know the signs of stroke: using the acronym F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) helps you to remember and quickly respond to the signs of a stroke:

  • Abnormal or slurred speech.
  • Comprehension difficulties.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Drooling or difficulty eating or swallowing.
  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Severe headache with no known cause.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Stroke Center is part of the New England Comprehensive Stroke Center Collaborative. The goal of the collaborative is to ensure that patients throughout the region who are experiencing a stroke will receive immediate care.

Learn more about the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Stroke Center.