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What Are The Early Signs Of Stroke?

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What Are The Early Signs Of Stroke?

Spotting a stroke early is vital and can mean the difference between life and death or irreversible damage to your body. Sudden warning signs are trouble speaking or difficulty following a conversation, numbness in your face, arm, or leg (especially on one side!). Other visible signs include blurred vision in one or both eyes and loss of balance or coordination.

Strokes are one of the main causes of major disability among adults. With 600,000 plus new instances reported every single year in the United States, it’s important to take the problem seriously. Especially when you also realize it is the third highest cause of deaths in the country!1 Spotting a stroke early is vital and can mean the difference between life and death or irreversible damage to your body.

What Happens When You Catch It Early?

When the body’s blood supply to the brain is abruptly cut off or interrupted, you experience a stroke. By administering the appropriate stroke medication you can restore adequate blood supply as soon as possible. Delays can cause disabilities that are temporary or even permanent. If you’re unlucky, it could even be fatal.

On the other side, if you spot the early warning signs, you can get timely medical help, limit the damage, and improve the success of rehabilitation efforts.2

Early Signs Of A Stroke

The medical fraternity has crafted an easy-to-remember acronym for the top three signs of a stroke. “FAST” stands for facial drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty, all associated with strokes. The “T” is for time to call 911.3 Apart from these, there are other signs you should watch out for.

Here’s a detailed look at all the indicators that should set your alarm bells ringing.

1. Facial Drooping

One of the most important and visible signs of a stroke is facial changes. In some people, it may be more obvious, with the face sagging or drooping to one side. Numbness might make it difficult for you to feel anything. An easy way to check for a stroke is to try and smile; if this is for someone else, ask that person to smile. If smiling is impossible or uneven, you may need to get medical help immediately because this is a reliable sign of a stroke.4

2. Numbness Or Paralysis On One Side

If one side of your body suddenly weakens or goes numb, it may be the beginning of a stroke. This could affect your face or even legs or arms. Generally, this happens on one side of the body and not both.5 It could even go so far as to paralyze one side of your body temporarily. And if not treated in time, this paralysis could have lasting effects.6

3. Garbled Or Slurred Speech, Or No Speech At All

If you or someone around you starts talking what seems like gibberish, it could be due to a stroke. This causes speech to slur as well. In some instances, you may not be able to speak at all. You may be fully conscious but unable to talk.7

4. Difficulty Raising Arms

Try raising your arms. If you are unable to keep both raised, parallel to the ground and extended in front of you, it may be because one of the arms is weak or numb.8

5. Confusion

Sudden confusion and difficulty following a conversation or instructions are characteristic of a stroke. This often translates to a loss of ability to understand a language you are familiar with or to follow what is going on around you.9

6. Unexplained Headache

Even a headache could be a sign of a stroke. This may be harder to pin down as most of us experience headaches routinely. However, this headache will likely be very severe and appear with no apparent cause or trigger.10

7. Dizziness And Trouble Walking

Besides the numbness that makes it hard to find your balance, you may also experience dizziness and have difficulty coordinating your limbs. This could make walking a challenge, and you may even fall without any plausible reason.11

8. Vision Problems

Do you suddenly have trouble seeing out of either one of your eyes, or maybe even both? It may be a result of a stroke. Vision may be blurred or you may find a sudden decline in what you can see (decreased vision).12

What Should You Do?

If you do spot any of these symptoms, get in touch with medical emergency services right away. If you’re in the United States, call 9-1-1 and have someone bring you or whoever you suspect is having a stroke to a hospital as soon as possible.

It is important to note the exact time the symptoms first appeared. You should then relay this vital information to the emergency medical team/doctors so they can use it to take appropriate action.13

References   [ + ]

1. Know Stroke. Know the Signs. Act in Time. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
2, 6, 11, 12. Stroke symptoms. Stroke Foundation.
3, 4, 13. Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms. American Heart Association.
5. Symptoms of a Stroke. Go Red For Women, American Heart Association.
7, 8. Stroke – Symptoms. NHS.
9, 10. What Are the Warning Signs of Stroke?. American Heart Association.