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Signs & Symptoms Neurology & Neurosurgery

Signs and Symptoms

If you are experiencing any symptoms of stroke, you should go to a doctor or hospital right away, preferably by dialing 911.

Common symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden paralysis of a leg, arm or one side of the face
  • Sudden trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden vision problems, such as blurred or double vision
  • Sudden loss of coordination or problems with balance
  • A severe, sudden headache without apparent cause
  • Sudden numbness, weakness or dizziness

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

Transient ischemic attacks are sometimes called "mini-strokes." Although strokes typically occur without warning, some people may feel a temporary numbness, weakness or tingling in one arm or leg, or problems with speech, vision or balance before the actual onset of the stroke. This occurs because the blood supply to the brain is temporarily reduced, called a transient ischemic attack (TIA).

TIAs usually last a few minutes to hours and may not cause immediate permanent injury to the brain. However, a TIA is a sign that the risk of a permanent stroke is great. TIA is an emergency. Patients with TIAs should be seen right away, just like those with stroke symptoms that don't go away.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.