Stroke Symptoms, Seizures

Get Directions

Act “FAST” for Stroke or Seizure

One of the most useful tools to determine if someone could possibly be having a stroke is the acronym “FAST,” which stands for:

  • Face drooping: One side of the face may droop from a stroke. Ask the person to smile, and see if the smile is lopsided, which is a sign of a stroke.
  • Arm weakness: Ask the person potentially having a stroke to raise both arms. If one arm is higher than the other, it could indicate a stroke.
  • Speech difficulties: If the person has difficulty speaking or understanding speech, it could indicate a stroke. See if the person can repeat a simple phrase, like “the weather is nice today?”
  • Time to call 9-1-1:  Quick action is key once someone has sustained a stroke, because lost brain cells do not regenerate, meaning disabilities caused by strokes often are permanent.

Is it a Stroke or a Seizure?

Strokes and seizures affect brain activity in distinct ways. In the case of a stroke, there may be an interruption of the oxygen-rich blood circulation to the brain. Brain cell death begins almost immediately and cannot be recovered. Strokes can cause permanent impairments and disability, particularly without immediate medical intervention.

By contrast, a seizure occurs due to excessive electrical activity in the brain, and the effects of a seizure are temporary. It is possible to suffer a stroke and a seizure if the brain forms scar tissue while sending out abnormal electrical signals, but the opposite is not true: Seizures do not cause strokes.

You may be confused by the differences if you are unfamiliar with strokes or seizures, because they have some overlapping symptoms. Some of the signs that strokes and seizures share include:

  • Headaches
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Loss of consciousness

Are you unsure if you or someone else is having a stroke or a seizure? Call 9-1-1 immediately to describe what has happened. 

Get Directions