Do You Know the Warning Signs of Stroke? - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Skip to Content

Published on October 13, 2014

Warning Signs of Stroke You Need to Know

Almost every 40 seconds, someone in the United States experiences a stroke. While most people know it’s important to call 911 if they are having a stroke, most people do not know all the warning signs.

Dr. Varun Saxena, Medical Director for the Center for Neurological Disorders at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - St. Francis, says, “Treatment is most effective when started immediately. With every passing minute, two million brain cells die. The longer the time to treatment, the worse the outcome.”

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke.

  • Facial drooping: A section of the face, usually only on one side, that is drooping and hard to move
  • Arm weakness: The inability to raise one's arm fully
  • Speech difficulties: An inability or difficulty to understand or produce speech
  • Time: Time is of the essence when having a stroke - call 911 immediately

Beyond F.A.S.T.: Other Symptoms You Should Know

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg, arm or face, especially one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding 
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes 
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  • Sudden nausea or vomiting not caused by a viral illness
  • Brief loss of consciousness, such as fainting, confusion, seizures, or coma

It’s important to know that not all warning signs occur with each stroke. Do not ignore any of the warning signs, even if they go away. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Nationally Recognized Stroke Care

Four of our hospitals — Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - All Saints and St. Francis, and Wheaton Franciscan - Elmbrook Memorial and St. Joseph Campuses — are accredited Advanced Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission, an independent national health care certification agency. This means you receive the most complete and up-to-date care from the time we start your treatment all the way through your return home.

Learn more about our Neurology and Stroke Care services.

Visit Our Health Library

Visit our Online Health Library



Don't Ignore the Warning Signs of Stroke