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How To Tell If You Are Having a Stroke

Strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. But getting help quickly can reduce the odds of permanent damage, so learn to recognize the warning signs.


  • Step 1: Be suspicious of sudden trouble walking, dizziness, and/or loss of balance and coordination.
  • Step 2: Evaluate your headaches. A sudden, severe headache can be the sign of a stroke.
  • FACT: Stroke victims are at an increased risk of memory problems and disability if they have low levels of “good” cholesterol and high levels of an amino acid linked with eating meat.
  • Step 3: Know the eyesight signs of a stroke—sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Step 4: Stick out your tongue. If it lolls to one side or looks “crooked,” it might signify a stroke.
  • Step 5: Get help if you suddenly feel confused and/or have trouble speaking or understanding what is being said to you.
  • TIP: If you suspect someone else is having a stroke, remember the letters S-T-R. Have them: Smile, Talk (any simple sentence will do), and Raise both arms. If the person has trouble doing any one of these things, or if you’re still in doubt, call 911.
  • Step 6: Don’t ignore sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on just one side of the body.

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