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Diagnosing Symptoms of Stroke


Stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the flow of blood to your brain is interrupted because of bleeding or a blood clot. Knowing the signs of a stroke can help you or a loved one receive medical attention as soon as possible.

Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area provide world-class stroke care, including our convenient telestroke program.

If you’d like to learn about how to identify stroke symptoms in the Bay Area, Find a Doctor today.

Signs & Symptoms of a Stroke

If you suspect a stroke, call 9-1-1 right away. Even if you’re not sure about the symptoms, you should seek emergency medical care. It could be the difference between life and death.

Stroke symptoms are sudden and include:

  • Loss of movement, especially on one side of your body
  • Not being able to speak understandably
  • One-sided face drooping (sagging) or weakness
  • Severe headache along with any other stroke symptom
  • Vision loss or disturbance in one or both of your eyes
  • Weakness in your arms or legs, especially on one side

How to Recognize Signs of a Stroke

The best way to assess stroke signs and symptoms is to use the FAST approach:

  • F for Face: Is it lopsided?
  • A for Arms: Does one arm droop?
  • S for Speech: Trouble speaking a simple sentence?
  • T for Time: If you answered yes to any of the questions above, call 9-1-1.

Stroke Diagnosis & Treatment at Dignity Health

Dignity Health doctors typically diagnose stroke in an emergency department. Once symptoms have been assessed, the doctor may order a diagnostic test, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to determine if the stroke was caused a blood clot or bleeding. This information will guide stroke treatment.

Neurologists at Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area are dedicated to offering a high level of care for stroke symptoms in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.