Healthy living

Two more stroke warning signs to be aware of

Two stroke warning signs you may not be aware of Leg weakness and loss of vision

UK researchers have identified two more signs that may indicate someone is having a stroke.

Many people will have seen or heard of the stroke 'FAST' campaign run by the NHS, which asks people to remember three stroke warning signs - facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems.

However, experts at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust want to raise awareness that leg weakness and loss of vision are also strong indicators that you may be having a stroke.

A survey of 1,300 people across Leicestershire found that while most had heard of stroke and FAST symptoms, only 56 per cent thought that leg weakness could indicate stroke, while 44 per cent considered loss of vision to be a warning sign.

Professor Ross Naylor said: "The FAST campaign was very successful, but it’s important that people know leg weakness and loss of vision are also signs to look out for.

"It's my fear are that many people may not be aware that anyone experiencing one or both of these additional signs, on their own or with one of the already recognised symptoms may be an indicator that they or a loved one is having a stroke and should also seek urgent medical advice.

"It’s really important that people are aware of all five of the signs and they shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that they must be having all five of them at the same time to be experiencing a stroke.

"You might be having a stroke and only suffering one of the five symptoms, however it’s more likely that you will experience one or two signs at the same time."

A stroke is caused when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or cut off, either by a blood clot (ischaemic stroke) or burst blood vessel (haemorrhagic stroke). About eight out of 10 strokes are caused by blood clots.

Each year around 150,000 people have a stroke in the UK, and over 50,000 die from one. Stroke is also the biggest cause of severe disability.

Professor Naylor said: "Whilst the public appear aware of FAST and the three symptoms it highlights, we’ll be working to raise awareness with the public, health professionals and health services locally and nationally to make sure that those people showing any of these five signs get the medical assistance they need promptly."

Stroke warning signs (FAST signs)

  • Face: facial weakness - can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • Arm: does it show weakness? - can the person raise both arms?
  • Speech: problems - can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • Time: time to call 999

This article was published on Fri 2 December 2011

Image © James Steidl -

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