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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Stroke Center

For Patients

Symptoms of Stroke

"It's crucial that people recognize the signs of stroke. Every single minute counts — seeking medical attention immediately can literally mean the difference between life and death or permanent disability," states Dr. Alison Baird, Medical Director, SUNY Downstate Stroke Center.


What are the signs of stroke?

  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sudden confusion, or difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling on one side of the face or body
  • Dim or blurry vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If you notice even one of these symptoms, even if it goes away, do not wait. Call 911 immediately.


Risk Factors

Men have a slightly higher risk of stroke, but women have a greater chance of dying from one. African Americans have the greatest risk, as their chances are double those of whites. Also, mini-strokes, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and smoking greatly increase your risk.