If you require emergency medical attention, please call 911 to access your local emergency services.

Types of Strokes and Symptoms of Strokes

Symptoms of Strokes

Types of Strokes and Symptoms of Strokes

A stroke is a brain attack, cutting off vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain. There are two types of stroke:

  • Ischemic stroke: Ischemic stroke occurs when arteries are blocked by the gradual buildup of plaque and other fatty deposits or blood clots. Almost 85 percent of all strokes are ischemic.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and blood leaks into the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes account for about 15 percent of all strokes, yet are responsible for more than 30 percent of all stroke deaths.

Stroke symptoms

It is important to recognize symptoms of stroke and act quickly. Symptoms of stroke in women and men include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Symptoms unique to women include:

  • Sudden face and limb pain
  • Sudden hiccups
  • Sudden nausea
  • Sudden general weakness
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Sudden palpitations

Act FAST

Every minute counts for stroke patients and acting F.A.S.T. can lead patients to the stroke treatment they need. The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within the first three hours of the first symptoms. Stroke patients may not be eligible for some stroke treatments if they arrive at the hospital after the three-hour window.

This simple test will help you detect stroke symptoms and Act FAST.

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase (such as, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”). Are the words slurred or hard to understand?
  • Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).



Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:


Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials: