10 Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off. The signs depend upon the area of the brain that is affected by the loss of blood supply and can include changes in sensation or brain control.
Symptoms of a stroke also depend on how much of the brain tissue is deprived of blood supply. For example, someone who had a mild stroke may experience temporary weakness of an arm or leg, but those with a more severe stroke may be permanently paralyzed on one side of their body or be unable to speak. If the blood supply is not quickly revived, either on its own or with medical treatment, the effects may be permanent.
Acting fast is critical if you suspect that someone may be having a stroke. Immediate treatment of a stroke can minimize long-term effects of the stroke and can even help reduce a person’s risk of death from stroke.
- F: Face drooping. Ask the person to smile, and see if one side is drooping. One side of the face may also be numb, and the smile may appear uneven.
- A: Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms. Is there weakness or numbness on one side? One arm drifting downward is a sign of one-sided arm weakness.
- S: Speech difficulty. People having a stroke may slur their speech or have trouble speaking at all. Speech may be incomprehensible. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence and look for any speech abnormality.
- T: Time to call 9-1-1! If a person shows any of the symptoms above, even if the symptoms went away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to a hospital immediately.
Here are the 10 Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke:
|SYMPTOMS ONE MAY EXPERIENCE||SIGNS YOU MAY NOTICE|
|1. CONFUSION||Unable to understand what is happening, can’t think clearly or feel thrown off||A puzzled look, a hard time focusing, trouble making decisions|
|2. DIFFICULTY UNDERSTANDING||Unable to comprehend speech or language||Raised or wrinkled eyebrows, shaking their head “no.” Unsteady or woozy|
|3. DIZZINESS||Feeling faint, lightheaded, or like the room is spinning||Unsteady movements (like they have motion sickness), like they are drunk (without having any alcohol)|
|4. LOSS OF BALANCE||Unstable with less coordination||Wobbling around, grabbing onto a stationary object|
|5. NUMBNESS||A tingling sensation in the body (i.e. face, arm or leg), like pins and needles||Constant touching, massaging or shaking of the numb areas|
|6. SEVERE HEADACHE||Pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck with no known cause||Touching their head or rubbing their temples, sensitivity to light|
|7. TROUBLE SPEAKING||Unable to speak or slurred speech||Sentences that can’t be understood, difficulty having a conversation|
|8. TROUBLE WALKING||Stumbling or unable to walk straight||Tripping over nothing|
|9. VISION CHANGES||Blurred vision or trouble with eyesight in one or both eyes||Squinting or rubbing their eyes, not able to read|
|10. WEAKNESS||Lack of strength in the face, arm, or leg—especially on one side of the body||Wanting to sit or lay down, difficulty doing simple tasks|
Stroke side effects and symptoms last longer than 24 hours. Some may last a lifetime. The early signs of stroke may resolve partially, or never. When this happens, other signs and symptoms such as depression, muscle atrophy (muscle loss), and worsening of early symptoms may progress over time. TIAs or mini-strokes are considered by the American Stroke Association to be major warning signs of a stroke. For example, about 7% to 40% of individuals experiencing a stroke report having a TIA sometime before their first stroke. Moreover, about one third of people that have a mini-stroke have a stroke within a year after their mini-stroke.
Remember to think and act FAST and call 911 if you see someone who may be having these symptoms. Don’t wait, call 9-1-1 immediately. You may help save a life or reduce the chance of long-term disability.