Every Minute Counts: How to Recognize the Signs of a Stroke

Do you know how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke?

Would you be able to identify someone that is demonstrating stroke symptoms and requires immediate medical attention? Strokes deprive the victim’s brain of oxygen, so when a person is having a stroke time is of the essence! Yet, many people would not be able to quickly identify a stroke if it happened to someone they know.

Keep your friends and loved one’s safe by knowing how to recognize a stroke. Here are 7 common symptoms of stroke and how different types of stroke may present themselves. If you experience any of the following symptoms listed below, please seek medical attention immediately.

Common Stroke Symptoms

  1. Paralysis, numbness, or weakness of the extremities. This usually happens on one of the sides of the body.
  2. Loss of vision, trouble seeing, dimness, double vision, blurring in either one eye or both.
  3. Confusion.
  4. Hard to understand.
  5. Slurred and messy speech.
  6. Hard to walk, no balance, no coordination, dizziness.
  7. Extreme headache.

Different Symptoms for Different Types of Strokes

Symptoms may change depending on the cause of the stroke — either bleeding or a clot. Another factor that may change symptoms is where the bleeding/clot is, and the amount of damage to the brain. The following is a list of symptoms according to the type of stroke:

An ischemic stroke is a stroke caused by clotting blocking off one of the brain’s blood vessels. The symptoms generally happen on the opposite side of the body where a clot occurred on the brain. To explain, if a stroke occurred in the left side of the brain, the stroke’s symptoms will affect the body’s right side.

A hemorrhagic stroke is a stroke that happens because there is bleeding inside the brain. These symptoms may be identical to an ischemic stroke’s symptoms. However, the stroke’s symptoms can be discerned by symptoms that relate to elevated pressure inside the brain. These symptoms include extreme headaches, stiffening of the neck, nausea, seizures, vomiting, confusion, irritability, and in some cases unconsciousness.

The Affect of Time on Stroke Symptoms

Depending on the type of stroke, symptoms happen in a few seconds or increase with time—over minutes, hours, and days.

For strokes that become progressively worse, the symptoms usually progress in steps. For example, you could have a mild headache, and in hours it could progress into an extremely painful headache.

Strokes caused by a large blood clot such as when atherosclerosis narrows or blocks an artery, it can be minutes, hours, or in some rare cases, days before symptoms appear. When many less significant strokes happen, small but gradual changes may occur in an individual’s walking, balance, or behavior, which can be due to a multi-infarct dementia.

Strokes are not always noticeable, as sometimes people assume that symptoms are related to aging or other conditions, so be sure to monitor your loved ones for stroke symptoms. Remember, that rapid identification and treatment is key to decreasing the damaging effects of strokes as well as providing better overall outcomes.

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