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Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center

Services - Stroke Prevention & Treatment Center

Stroke Warning Signs

The following are common symptoms of stroke. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 (or your local ambulance service) immediately. Treatment is most effective when started immediately.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or 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

If you suspect that a family member or loved one is suffering a stroke, it is important to act F.A.S.T. Ask the person to do the following:

  • Face - check for facial droop or an uneven smile
  • Arm - observe if one arm lags behind, or is not raised as high as the opposite arm. Also check to see if the person is unable to maintain both their arms at equal height.
  • Speech - Ask them to repeat a simple sentence, such as "today is a sunny day." Check if the person's speech is altered or slurred, or if they have difficulty understanding.
  • Time - Call 911 and get to the hospital immediately.

It is possible that these symptoms occur transiently for several minutes or a few hours and may go away. This could be a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and is considered a mini stroke. Do not ignore any of the warning signs as they are considered high risk that another stroke may occur. Please call for medical help immediately.

Learn More

Stroke Prevention
Stroke Types & Risk Factors
Physical Activity Guidelines 
Carotid Artery Disease


Call: 617.638.8456
Fax: 617.638.8465
Email: stroke@bmc.org

Boston Medical Center
Department of Neurology
Shapiro Center
7th Floor, Suite 7B
725 Albany Street
Boston, MA 02118

For Research Information

Contact Helena Lau,
Call: 617.414.1171
Fax: 617.638.5354
stroke@bmc.org or

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Areas of Expertise

Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs)
Brain Aneurysm Care
Carotid Artery Disease
Dural Arteriovenous Fistula (DAVF)
Spine Care
Stroke Prevention & Treatment

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