Stroke Information for Seniors

Warning Signs and Symptoms

FAST Warning Signs - Use the letters in "FAST" to spot stroke signs and know when to call 911.


  • FACE DROOPING - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven or lopsided?
  • ARM WEAKNESS - Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • SPEECH DIFFICULTY - Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the person repeat the words correctly?
  • TIME TO CALL 911 - If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and say, "I think this is a stroke" to help get the person to the hospital immediately. Time is important! Don't delay, and also note the time when the first symptoms appeared. Emergency responders will want to know. Unsure? Call 911 anyway. Don't wait!

Additional Symptoms of Stroke: Sometimes other symptoms appear, separately, in combination or with F.A.S.T. signs.

  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech.
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg. Especially on one side of the body.
  • 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 someone shows any of these symptoms, call 911 or emergency medical services immediately.

2017 American Heart Association, Inc.