How To Recognize Stroke Symptoms

Stroke is defined as a sudden, non-convulsive loss of neurological function due to an ischemic or hemorrhagic intracranial vascular event. There are many kinds of stroke depending on the area of the brain affected. It could be Ischemic, hemorrhagic, cerebellar, or brain stem stroke. Regardless of what type of stroke it is, the symptoms are fairly general. Here they are:

Gradual/Sudden Onset Symptoms - The symptoms of stroke can manifest over a certain period of time or very suddenly. Any one of these could appear within hours or days before the attack. Recognizing any one of the symptoms can potentially save your life, especially if you are already at risk for the disease. Here they are:

  • Hemiparesis-derived from the Greek word "hemi" and "paresis," which means "one side" and "weakness" respectively, this refers to muscle weakness on only one side of the body
  • Hemiplegia-derived from the Greek word "hemi" and "plegia" which means "one side" and "paralysis" respectively, this refers to paralysis of the one side of the body
  • One-sided numbness
  • Temporary limb weakness
  • Limb tingling
  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking and understanding speech
  • Trouble seeing in one eye or both eyes, including dim vision and loss of vision
  • Trouble walking
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Falling
  • Sudden severe headache and dizziness
  • Noisy breathing
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) - A TIA may be a precursor to full stroke. In TIA, the person experiences the sudden symptoms of stroke, which disappear on their own. The National Stroke Association reveals that one in four individuals who had TIA will have a stroke in the next three years.
  • Loss and disturbance of consciousness

Less Common Symptoms - No patient experiences heart failure in the same manner. Some have symptoms that are less common than the ones listed above. These include:

  • Sudden nausea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

The symptoms mentioned above are recognizable to the patient himself only and it will only serve him some good if he's experiencing gradual onset stroke. Only then can he recognize that he is having a stroke. How about for those who have been attacked by a sudden stroke? How can you, as a family, friend, or just a bystander, recognize that the patient is having a stroke attack? This is simple. Just follow the simple FAST steps below:

  1. F for facial weakness. Ask the person to smile. Do their eyes or mouth droop? Can he stick out his tongue?
  2. A for arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms. Can he do it?
  3. S for speech difficulty. Ask questions. Can the person understand you clearly? Can he talk?
  4. T for time to act. If the answer is NO to all of the preceding questions, then the person is suffering from stroke. Call for emergency medical services right away and tell them that the patient is having a stroke. The patient will have a better chance of surviving from the attack if he is given treatment within three hours of experiencing the attack.


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