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Give Me 5! Stroke Warning Signs

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain does not get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.  Time equals brain loss.  The longer you are having a stroke, the more brain cells are dying.  The faster you get help, the less serve the damage is. 


Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. However, research shows the public remains unaware of stroke’s warning signs and the need for immediate medical attention. Even if the symptoms subside, call 9-1-1!


Warning Signs:  Warning signs usually occur suddenly and should be taken seriously.  If someone exhibits one or more of these symptoms,  they are about to have a stroke. 


Don’t wait. Call 9-1-1!

Remember, the longer someone exhibits these symptoms, the more danger they will be in.  The chance of a patient having a stroke is 75 percent if one of these symptoms occurs and 80 percent if three or more occur.  If you see one of these symptoms, even if it goes away, do not wait! Call 9-1-1 immediately; this person may be having a stroke.


Symptoms of a Bleeding Stroke

Some strokes are hemorrhagic, meaning that they are caused by bleeding and swelling of the brain. The following symptoms suggest brain bleeding:

These symptoms are brought on by a variety of factors. If a person is exhibiting the symptoms above and has a history of high blood pressure or other risk factors, takes blood thinners, or has had a previous stroke or brain surgery, they are most likely having a stroke. Be sure to tell your doctors if you or your loved ones have this history.


Sudden Ending of Symptoms

Although these symptoms will start suddenly, they may also end suddenly. This does not mean that the patient is not having a stroke. Instead, the ending of symptoms means the patient had a mini-stroke, also known as a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). Mini-strokes lead to a more dangerous brain attack. Patients should still be given immediate medical care even if their symptoms have ended.


When Stroke is not the cause

The symptoms of strokes also point to other diseases. If a patient is taken into a hospital but isn't actually having a brain attack, one of these conditions may be the cause.


Hope Through Research - You Can Be Part of the Answer!

Many research studies are underway to help us learn about stroke. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:


For more information:

Go to the Stroke health topic, where you can:

This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: Jun 26, 2014

School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

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Professor and Chair of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

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Professor and Chair of Neurological Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University