Warning Signs of a Stroke

Stroke is a medical emergency. Recognizing and responding immediately to the warning signs of stroke by calling 9-1-1 or your local emergency number can significantly improve survival and recovery. If a person is diagnosed with a stroke caused by a blood clot, doctors can administer a clot-busting drug available only at a hospital, and only within a few crucial hours after symptoms begin.That’s why it is very important to be able to recognize the 5 warning signs of stroke and immediately call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.

The Five Signs:

Stroke can be treated. That’s why it is so important to recognize and respond to the warning signs.

  • Weakness – Sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg, even if temporary.
  • Trouble speaking – Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, even if temporary.
  • Vision problems – Sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary.
  • Headache – Sudden severe and unusual headache.
  • Dizziness – Sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the above signs.

If you experience any of these symptoms, CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

*Health Canada has approved the clot-busting drug called tPA to be used within 3 hours from the time symptoms begin. However, emerging science is now showing that tPA could be effective up to 4 ½ hours afterward. As a result, the Canadian Stroke Strategy has issued new Canadian Best Practices Recommendations for Stroke Care, which have included this new treatment time. Still, it will be up to the attending emergency doctors to determine when tPA may be administered or if it is appropriate to the situation.