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What Are the Signs of a Stroke? Act F.A.S.T.

Signs of Stroke Graphic

Strokes often occur suddenly, so every minute counts. Fast medical treatment can not only lessen brain damage, but also save a life. Over 1 million people in America experience a stroke each year, and brain damage is unfortunately very common. Damage to the brain during a stroke creates physical and cognitive deficits. Understanding the signs of a stroke can help you take quick action and save a life—even your own. 

What does the F.A.S.T. acronym mean?

Acting F.A.S.T. can help someone experiencing a stroke get the medical care they desperately need. Stroke treatments are most effective if it is diagnosed and treated within 3 hours of the first symptoms.

If you think someone is having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. using the following tests:

  • F—Face
    Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face appear to droop?
  • A—Arms
    Ask the person to lift both arms. Does one drift downward?
  • S—Speech
    Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
  • T—Time
    If you see any of these signs, act FAST: Call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest urgent care center right away.

Signs of a stroke in men and women

Five warning signs of a stroke include:

  • Numbness
    Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg (especially if localized on one side of the body)
  • Confusion
    Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Vision problems
    Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes
  • Loss of coordination
    Sudden difficulty or inability to walk, balance or other problems with coordination
  • Severe headache
    Sudden and severe headache with no known cause

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Immediate medical care is vital for reducing their risk of death or long-term side effects.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms or warning signs of a stroke, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

PVHMC Emergency Department

1798 N. Garey Avenue
Pomona, CA 91767


PVHC Urgent Care locations and hours

8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday – Friday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekends and most holidays

Chino Hills Crossroads

3110 Chino Avenue, Suite 150
Chino Hills, CA 91709
Directions from CA-71 View Location


1601 Monte Vista Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
Directions from the 10 FWY View Location

La Verne

2333 Foothill Boulevard
La Verne, CA 91750
Directions from the 210 FWY View Location