Learn About Strokes

Stroke Symptoms

One of the main goals of the Mission Stroke Center is to reduce the time between the onset of stroke symptoms and patient arrival at the hospital. The Center works with the community to promote 'FAST' - an acronym for Face, Arm, Speech and Time - a simple way for people to identify common stroke symptoms. To learn more about FAST, please view the video on the top right of this page.

The FAST indications include weakness of the face during smiling, drifting down of one arm when the arms are extended in front of the body, or slurred or unintelligible speech. If any of these symptoms are present, 9-1-1 should be called immediately.

These symptoms can occur alone or in combination. If you experience any of them, or if someone with you does, call 9-1-1 immediately. Even if the symptoms last only a few moments and seem to disappear, consider it an emergency and seek treatment.

Stroke Risk Factors

Risk Factors That You Can Change or Treat

  • High Blood Pressure - Check blood pressure periodically and, if over 120/80, see your doctor. If you have high blood pressure, take your medications as prescribed.
  • Heart Disease - Find out if you have heart disease, especially irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation
  • Sedentary Lifestyle - Include some form of exercise in your daily activities.
  • Diabetes - If you have diabetes, work to control your blood sugar levels
  • Smoking - If you smoke, get help to stop. More about how to stop smoking
  • High Cholesterol - Keep your cholesterol level within normal limits with diet and/or medication
  • Alcohol Intake - Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation
  • Diet - Enjoy a lower sodium, lower fat diet for better health
  • Drug Use - intravenous drug abuse carries a high risk of stroke
  • TIA's - know the warning signs of a TIA and seek treatment immediately

Risk Factors That You Can't Control

  • Age - the older you are, the greater risk of stroke
  • Gender - In most age groups, more men than women have stroke, but more women die of stroke
  • Heredity and Race - African Americans and Hispanic Americans are at higher risk of stroke
  • Prior Stroke - Once you have had a stroke, you are at higher risk of having another one