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Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

Many of us can be vulnerable to a stroke. Therefore, it is essential to understand the early warning signs and symptoms of a stroke.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: May 15, 2018
A stroke or brain attack is a medical condition that demands quick medical attention. It so happens that many of them do not cause severe pain, and due to this, there is delay in treatment and considerable brain tissue damage. It can also lead to some other dangerous ailment. Hence, in this article, we have summarized the early warning signs and symptoms of a stroke so that you can always be alert and cautious.
Symptoms
When brain cells are deprived of oxygen, they do not perform the usual functions. The area of the brain that have been affected and the amount of brain tissue damage decides the signs. Small strokes do not result in any, but cause damage to the brain tissue. They are accompanied by an absence of symptoms are called "silent strokes". The symptoms come on in a minute or an hours. There is generally no pain accompanying them, and they may appear or disappear completely or become worse in a span of a few hours. One-third of all the strokes take place during the sleep. Hence, the signs are noticed after waking up. They are as follows:
  • Weakness in the arm or leg or both on the same side: There may be a mild weakness or total paralysis. A total numbness or a pins-and-needles feeling may be present on one side of the body or part of a side.
  • Coordination problems: Stumbling is possible or there may be difficulty picking up objects.
  • Weakness in the muscles of the face: The face may droop or look lopsided. There may be slurring in speech, as it is not possible to control the movement of the lips or tongue.
  • Dizziness: There is a feeling of being drunk or dizzy or difficulty swallowing.
  • Difficulty in speaking: Speech may be slurred, or while speaking, the words won't make sense.
  • Sudden headache: There is a very sudden and severe headache.
  • Vision problems: There may be double vision, loss of peripheral vision, or blindness.
  • Loss on consciousness: The person may become unconscious, stuporous, or hard to arouse.
  • Sudden confusion: The person might be suddenly confused, he may be at one place, and then wonder what he is doing there.
  • Difficulty in walking: The person find it difficult to walk normally, he might stumble and fall.
  • Vomiting: The person may vomit or have a feeling of nausea.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness: Since the person experiences coordination problems, he might feel dizzy as well, and this also leads to difficulty in walking and concentration.
  • Seizure: A seizure is a very common effect of a stroke.
Signs of a TIA
For many people, a stroke has no warning. However, a possible sign of an impending stroke is a transient ischemic attack (TIA). This is a temporary interruption of blood flow to a part of the brain. The symptoms of TIA are the same as that of a stroke, but they last for a small time, which may be some minutes to 24 hours. Then, they disappear and do not leave apparent permanent effects. A TIA shows a serious risk that a full-blown stroke may follow. The symptoms are as follows:
  • When oxygen to the eye is reduced, there may be poor night vision. About one-third of TIAs are characterized by temporary lost vision of one eye.
  • If the cerebral hemisphere is affected, the patient can feel problems with speech and partial or temporary paralysis, numbness, tingling, and drooping eyelid generally on one part of the body. In case the injuries are on the right side of the brain, the symptoms are seen on the left side and vice versa.
Types
There are two main types of strokes:
Ischemic: In this, the blood supply to a part of the brain is blocked. Due to this, oxygen and nutrients reaching the brain cells are blocked. These cells begin to die in a few minutes. Due to atherosclerosis, the plaque can restrict blood flow in the artery or lead to a blood clot that can block the flow. When a clot or other small piece of material lodges in an artery in the brain, it is called an embolic stroke. Irregular heart rhythms lead to such embolic strokes and these are preventable.
Hemorrhagic: A blood vessel within the brain leaks or ruptures causing a intracerebral hemorrhage. High blood pressure is the prevalent reason of intracerebral hemorrhage. In a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a small bubble on an artery causes leak under the lining of the brain.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.