Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Five Warning Signs of Stroke

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (2011) public messaging identifies stroke as being treatable but it is important for the public to recall and respond to the following five warning signs:

  • Weakness - Sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg,even if temporary.
  • Trouble speaking - Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, even if temporary.
  • Vision problems - Sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary.
  • Headache - Sudden severe and unusual headache.
  • Dizziness - Sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the above signs.