8 Early Signs Of Stroke To Help You Act FAST
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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.
We generally associate strokes with the older population, especially those above 65 years, but the truth is that strokes could happen to anyone. When the body’s blood supply to the brain is abruptly cut off or interrupted, you experience a stroke. The risk is obviously high in people with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, arterial diseases, or heart disease. But obesity, physical inactivity, alcoholism, smoking, and a family history of strokes can also put you in the at-risk group. Women who smoke and take birth control pills should be especially careful.1
FAST: Top 3 Signs Of A Stroke
- Facial drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 9112
The importance of knowing the early signs of a stroke cannot, therefore, be overstated. By administering the appropriate stroke medication you can restore adequate blood supply as soon as possible. Delays can cause disabilities that are usually temporary but may even become permanent. If you’re unlucky, it could even be fatal. Strokes are one of the main causes of major disability among adults. With 600,000 plus new instances reported every year in the United States, it is the third highest cause of deaths in the country!3
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.4
The medical fraternity has crafted an easy-to-remember acronym for the top three signs of a stroke: “FAST.” 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.5
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.6 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.7
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.8
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.9
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.10
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.11
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.12
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).13
Spot Symptoms, Note When They Occur, And Get Immediate Help
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 911 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.14
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Stroke Risks. American Stroke Association.|
|2, 5, 14.||↑||Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms. American Heart Association.|
|3.||↑||Know Stroke. Know the Signs. Act in Time. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.|
|4, 7, 12, 13.||↑||Stroke symptoms. Stroke Foundation.|
|6.||↑||Symptoms of a Stroke. Go Red For Women, American Heart Association.|
|8, 9.||↑||Stroke – Symptoms. NHS.|
|10, 11.||↑||What Are the Warning Signs of Stroke?. American Heart Association.|
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.