Friday, July 18, 2014

The Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

The Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

Strokes are much more common and just as serious as you think. One person is having a stroke every 40 seconds! It is important to know the warning signs and body language that suggest someone may be experiencing a stroke.

If you didn't know already, a stroke is the rapid loss of brain function due to a disturbance in blood supply to the brain. A stroke is a serious medical emergency that can cause permanent neurological damage and even death. The risk factors for stroke include old age, high blood pressure, previous strokes, diabetes, high cholesterol and tobacco smoking. Strokes are currently the second leading cause of death worldwide.
Photo: Ambro/
So what are the warning signs?

It is crucial to know the warning signs for strokes because the sooner they are treated and addressed, the less chance that there will be serious damage to the brain. Stroke symptoms can develop gradually, but usually the symptoms appear rather suddenly and without warning. Stroke symptoms include:

-Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, leg and especially on one side of the body

-Sudden confusion or trouble understanding other people

-Trouble speaking or a sudden slurring of words when an individual typically does not have difficulty with speech

-Trouble seeing in one or both eyes

-Trouble walking, staying balanced or coordinated. This, together with the sudden pain, are usually why some people affected by stroke will suddenly fall down

-Dizziness or light-headedness

-Severe headaches that come on for no apparent reason
back pain
Photo: Ambro/
There are also various kinds of strokes that you should be aware about:

Ischemic Stroke: This kind of stroke happens when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked for a variety of reasons, most common being a sudden blood clot.

Hemorrhagic Stroke: This is a very serious form of stroke because it occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): This is considered a 'mini stroke', usually from a temporary blockage. TIA does not cause permanent damage to the brain, but it may cause some of the stroke warning signs listed above, some of which may last anywhere from minutes to hours. These are warning signs that you should not ignore.

What should you do if you or a loved one has symptoms?

-Don't ignore the warning signs: even if you have only one of the warning signs consult a doctor or hospital immediately

-Don't wait because every minute counts!

-Call emergency services if you or a loved one experiences one or more of the symptoms within a few minutes

-Check the time when the symptoms begin so that you can share this information when you arrive at the hospital.

Watch an instructional video by survivors of stroke on the importance of recognizing stroke body language and symptoms.
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