Warning Signs of Stroke

A stroke is always a medical emergency. If you recognise the signs of stroke call 000. A stroke is not a heart attack. A stroke happens when the supply of blood to the brain is suddenly interrupted. Some strokes are fatal, while others cause permanent or temporary disability. 

The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of stroke-related brain damage. Emergency medical treatment soon after symptoms begin improves the chance of survival and successful rehabilitation. 

Facial weakness, arm weakness and difficulty with speech are the most common symptoms or signs of stroke, but they are not the only signs. Other symptoms of stroke may include one or a combination of the following: 

  • Weakness, numbness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg on either or both sides of the body
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding 
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
  • Loss of vision, sudden blurring or decreased vision in one or both eyes 
  • Headache, usually severe and abrupt onset or unexplained change in the pattern of headaches
  • Difficulty swallowing 
The signs of stroke may occur alone or in combination. They can last a few seconds or up to 24 hours and then disappear. When symptoms disappear within 24 hours, this episode may be a mini stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA). 

The F.A.S.T. test is an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke. Using the F.A.S.T. test involves asking these simple questions: 


  • Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? 


  • Can they lift both arms? 


  • Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you? 


  • Is Critical. 

If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away. If you or someone else experiences the signs of stroke, no matter how long they last, call 000 immediately.

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Warning Signs of Stroke