Pre-stroke signs

Updated November 21, 2016

Knowing the warning signs of a stroke could save your life or the life of a loved one. According to the Center for Disease Control, in recent years stroke has been "the third leading cause of death in the United States." If you notice pre-stroke signs, which come on suddenly, call 911 immediately, or have someone call for you. The longer the interruption of blood flow to your brain, the more serious the damage can be. The faster you are treated, the better your chances of recovery. Five major signs can indicate an impending stroke.

Sudden Numbness or Weakness

If you experience sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg, you could be having a stroke. Typically, the numbness or weakness occur on one side of your body.


Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding when someone speaks to you is a sign of a stroke.

Vision Problems

Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes can be an indication of a stroke.

Difficulty Walking

Having sudden difficulty walking, loss of balance and dizziness can be warnings of a stroke.

Sudden, Severe Headache

If you have a sudden, severe headache and do not know the cause, this could mean a stroke.


Risk of stroke increases if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking.

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