Signs of a stroke

cross-section 400

The diagram shows what happens during a stroke. Illustration by Nola Johnston

Signs of a stroke, Level 3
Adapted from The Vancouver Sun, the Heart and Stroke Foundation
and Statistics Canada, 2012, by Nila Gopaul
Illustrations by Nola Johnston

Most strokes happen
when a blood clot blocks
the flow of blood going to the brain.

Both children and adults can have strokes.
Each year, there are 50,000 strokes in Canada.
Over 14,000 Canadians die of strokes each year.

Every minute counts
After a stroke, a person loses
about two million brain cells every minute.
That is why it is important to call 9-1-1 immediately
if you think you or someone else is having a stroke.

Some long-term effects of a stroke

  • Having difficulty speaking
    or finding the right words to say
  • Memory loss
  • Weakness on one side of the body

Think you are having a stroke? Call 9-1-1 immediately.
FAST is an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke.
FAST means:

Face droops

Face drooping

Face drooping
Is one side of your face numb, or does it droop?
Smile. Is your smile uneven?


Arm weakness

Arm weakness
Is one arm weak or numb?
Raise both arms.
Does one arm move down?

Speech difficulty

Speech difficulty

Speech difficulty

Speech difficulty

Speech difficulty
Repeat a simple sentence,
such as “The sky is blue.”
Can you repeat it correctly?


Time to call 9-1-1
Call 9-1-1 if you have one or more of these signs.
Write down the time.
Go to the hospital right away.