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.
Walk– check for balance, lost strength on one side (slumping to one side of the body), leaning to one side when walking, veering off to one side, dragging their foot on side their leaning on, numbness on one side.
Talk – slurred speck, droopy face, problems speaking – “getting their words out” or muffled speech, speech makes no sense, droopy mouth
Reach – unable to raise both arms, one side numb, strength weaker in one hand, unable to hold pen or utensil
Vision – trouble seeing, fuzzy vision, incomplete visual field, double vision
- Feel – severe headache, pain in eyes, sound increases headache
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:
Collapse or loss of consciousness
Progressive headache, nausea, or vomiting
- Loss of breathing ability
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.
- Low blood sugar
- Head injury
- Intoxication or drug overdose
- Migraine headache
- Kidney or liver failure
- Mental illness
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.