Stroke symptoms: Nine lesser-known signs of the condition you need to know

Stroke symptoms are considered a medical emergency and if you suspect someone is having one, you should phone 999 immediately.

They usually begin suddenly as a result of oxygen deprivation to brain tissue. The signs can be remembered with the word F.A.S.T.

The ‘F’ stands for face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

The ‘A’ is for arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

’S’ stands for speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.

The ’T’ is for time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.

But occasionally, a stroke can cause different symptoms. The NHS outlines what else to look for.

Complete paralysis of one side of the body, alongside sudden loss or blurring of vision, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty understanding what others are saying can all be indicators.

Other signs and signs can also include problems with balance and co-ordination, difficulty swallowing, a sudden and very severe headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before, and loss of consciousness.

But it should also be noted there may be other causes for these symptoms.

A big stroke can be fatal, but for many people who experience a stroke, recovery is long but possible.

To prevent a stroke from happening in the first place, four things are recommended – eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol.

These lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of problems like arteries becoming clogged with fatty substances, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.

If you have already experienced a stroke, these changes can also help reduce your risk of having another one in the future.


An unhealthy diet can increase your chances of having a stroke.

The NHS states: “A low-fat, high-fibre diet is usually recommended, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and wholegrain.

“Ensuring a balance in your diet is important. Don’t eat too much of any single food, particularly foods high in salt and processed foods.

“You should limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than 6g a day as too much salt will increase your blood pressure. Six grams of salt is about one teaspoonful.”


Regular exercise can also help lower your cholesterol and keep your blood pressure healthy.

The health body recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week is recommended.

Stop smoking

Smoking significantly increases your risk of having a stroke as it narrows your arteries and makes your blood more likely to clot.

“You can reduce your risk of having a stroke by stopping smoking. Not smoking will also improve your general health and reduce your risk of developing other serious conditions, such as lung cancer and heart disease,” explains the NHS.

Cut down on alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure and trigger an irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation), both of which can increase your risk of having a stroke.

The health body says: “If you choose to drink alcohol and have fully recovered, you should aim not to exceed the recommended limits.

“Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.”