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Stroke Warning Signs & Risk Factors

Awareness is critical when it comes to preventing and detecting a stroke. Even just a few minutes can make a big difference. Be prepared by learning about the risk factors and warning signs.

Stroke Risk Factors

Risk factors that may increase your chance of experiencing a stroke include:

  • Diabetes
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Lifestyle issues, including obesity and lack of exercise
  • Smoking

Stroke Warning Signs

Recognizing the signs of a stroke and taking action can save a life. If any of the symptoms below occur, seek help immediately by calling 911 or your local Avera emergency department.

FAST is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. FAST stands for:

  • Face drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
  • 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, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 911 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Learn more about stroke warning signs and symptoms from the American Stroke Association.

Ask for a Referral

You’ll need a physician referral for most care at Avera Brain & Spine Institute. For more information, talk to your doctor or call 605-322-7270.

What’s My Risk for Stroke?

Take our free online stroke risk assessment to understand what you can do to stay healthy.

Related Locations

Stroke Care

  • Stroke Warning Signs & Risk Factors

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