UnityPoint Health - Madison

Know the Signs of Stroke

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the 4th leading cause of death for adults in the US. Approximately 800,000 strokes occur each year. When stroke strikes, every minute counts. Knowing the signs and symptoms could save your life or the life of a loved one.



Does one side of the face droop? Ask the person to smile.


Is one arm or leg weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is the person having trouble walking?


Is speech slurred? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the sentence repeated and correctly?


If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. To reduce post-stroke disability, clot-busting drugs must be given within three hours after symptoms appear.

Someone having a stroke may also experience dizziness, loss of coordination, difficulty walking, nausea or vomiting, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes or have a severe headache with no known cause.

"If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, you could be having a transient ischemic attack or TIA, sometimes called a 'ministroke'," explains Neurologist, Ross Levine, MD, FAHA, FAAN. "This is a warning sign that you might have a full stroke. Prompt treatment of a TIA may help prevent a stroke in the future."

Symptoms? Call 911!

Never second guess the signs and symptoms of stroke. Call 911 and have emergency personnel transport you to the hospital. They are experts in managing emergencies and have the knowledge and equipment needed to care for you while in route to the hospital. EMS also maintains two-way communication with the Emergency Department (ED), so that care can be continued as soon as you arrive at the hospital. Our trained experts in our ED are available 24 hours-a-day to care for you.

If you have experienced a stroke, Meriter has a full team of professionals to assist with your recovery including neurologists, rehabilitation medicine physicians and therapy specialists. The team provides a full array of consultative, diagnostic, treatment and case management services for both inpatients and outpatients.

Stroke Prevention

Take a stroke risk assessment today

Through recognition and management of risk factors and lifestyle changes, up to 80% of strokes can be prevented. Stroke factors that can be controlled include:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco Use
  • Alcohol Use (drinking more than 2 drinks per day)
  • Obesity/Excessive Weight

To learn more about stroke symptoms and prevention, visit The American Stroke Association.

Madison Area Stroke Support Group

This support group is held on the first Wednesday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at UnityPoint Health - Meriter, and is intended to help educate and comfort individuals who have experienced a stroke. If you are interested in attending, please call (608) 417-7514.