Stroke: Signs and Symptoms

Time Lost is Brain Lost— B.E. F.A.S.T.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). Learning the signs and symptoms of a stroke are both simple and beneficial. Remember the acronym Be Fast.


Balance: Does the person feel sudden dizziness? Ask the person to stand or balance with one leg elevated.

Eyes: Does vision become blurred? Ask the person to describe a nearby object.

Face: Does the face look uneven? Ask the person to smile.

Arms: Does one arm drift down? Ask the person to raise both arms.

Speech: Does it sound strange? Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, such as “the sky is blue.”

Time: If you observe any of these signs, then don’t wait it’s time to call 9-1-1.

Don’t drive! People who arrive in an ambulance get care faster. You have a better chance of getting back to normal if you remember to BE FAST and call 9-1-1.

Spectrum Health Lakeland is proud to have earned the Gold Seal of ApprovalTM for Primary Stroke Centers from The Joint Commission. Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph and Lakeland Hospital, Niles have been certified since 2008. This distinction recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.

“Our patients are strongly encouraged to work on stroke prevention with their primary care providers. If a stroke does occur, patients should feel secure knowing that the team at Lakeland will provide first rate, nationally recognized stroke care,” explains Robert Ward, III, DO, FACN, Medical Director of the Lakeland Stroke Center.

Achievement of Primary Stroke Center Certification signifies an organization’s dedication to fostering better outcomes for patients. Lakeland’s Primary Stroke Center Certification has demonstrated that its program meets critical elements of performance to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes for stroke patients.


Be prepared!

Know the signs and symptoms of a stroke and have a plan. A stoke can happen to anyone at any ages. However, most strokes happen to older individuals.

Women face extra risks due to hormone changes associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. In fact, women who use birth control products that contain a combination of estrogen and progestin may double their risk for heart attack and stroke. Click here to learn more.

Continue Watching

FAST Facts - Stroke Awareness

Inpatient Rehabilitation: Daniel Krajecki "Worth a Thousand Words"

Daniel shares about his journey to recovery at Lakeland Health Watervliet.

Inpatient Rehabilitation: Timothy Buchana "Making Every Second Count"

After suffering a severe brain hemorrhage, Timothy turned to Lakeland Hospital Watervliet for inpatient rehabilitation.

Inpatient Rehabilitation: Mike Wilson "A New Normal"

After suffering a stroke, Mike Wilson spent the next month participating in an extensive inpatient rehabilitation program at Lakeland Hospital Watervliet to help him return to his normal functions.

Check-Up: Michael O'Hearn - A Pain in the Back

Physical therapist, Michael O'Hearn shares when to seek medical help for back pain.

Provider Video Profile: Michael Schiman, NP (Neurology)

Nurse practitioner Michael Schiman helps those with a variety of neurologic illnesses at Lakeland Neurology.

Physician Video Profile: Rafeek Woods, MD (Neurosurgery)

Introducing Dr. Rafeek Woods, a neurosurgeon at Lakeland Neurosurgery in St. Joseph

Neurosurgery Brain Bleed: Becky Laymon "Niles to St. Joseph - One Big Family"

Becky Laymon's condition turned out to be a brain bleed.

Brain Cancer: Rick Ledesma "We're Going to Fight"

Learn about Rick's journey with glioblastoma mltiforme.

Physician Video Profile: Robert Ward, DO (Neurology)

Introducing Dr. Robert Ward, a neurologist with Berrien Regional Associates in Neurology.

© Spectrum Health Lakeland 2021