How to identify the signs of a stroke

November 12, 2012

How to identify the signs of a stroke

Signs of a stroke appear suddenly but can actually show themselves up to seven days before the actual stroke. The strange thing about strokes is that the signs of a mild stroke are identical to the signs of a very serious stroke. The only way to know what sort of stroke occurred is afterwards. If it was a mild stroke, also known as a transient ischemic attack, then very little permanent damage is done and quite often no damage is done. However if the stroke is major then often serious permanent damage is done and death is possible. One of the signs of a stroke being about to happen is the presence of a ‘mini stroke’ occurring and no damage is done. This can be one of the warning signs of a stroke coming soon, and there is every possibility it will be a major stroke. It is common for a mini stroke to occur about one day before a major stroke happens but it is possible that the delay will be as long as one week. One of the common signs of a stroke happening is a very sudden headache which is severe and appears without any apparent reason. There may also be a stiff neck or facial pain or vomiting. These are common symptoms of a stroke and generally are the only pains that will be felt. Other symptoms include numbness, confusion and dizziness. All of these signs of a stroke happen because of the sudden loss of oxygen carrying blood reaching the brain. It is a common symptom of having a stroke for the person to lose feeling along one side of their body, or perhaps they still have some feeling but there is also a sense of numbness. This is only temporary in a mild stroke and is caused by the nerve cells being disrupted because of the disrupted blood flow to the brain. After a major stroke it is possible that feeling and strength will never return to that side of the body. If you come across someone with these symptoms a quick test to confirm the presence of a stroke is to get the person to raise both arms above their head. If one arm falls down then a stroke is happening and if medical help has not already been called for then now is the time to do it. Another one of the common signs of a stroke is confusion. The person will have difficulties communicating and will be disoriented but be unaware that anything untoward is actually happening because of the disrupted blood flow to the brain. The person may just look dazed or slightly stunned. The patient may also be dizzy and feel that everything is spinning. It may be this vertigo that makes the patient fall over and if this is the case then leave them on the floor and make them comfortable whilst awaiting medical help. As you try to communicate with the patient other signs of a stroke may manifest themselves such as speech difficulty. Perhaps the words will be slurred and any words spoken may not make sense or be incomplete. The person may not be able to see from an eye or may have blurred vision or some other indication such as double vision depending on what part of the brain has been affected by the stroke.

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