Having a Stroke: Signs and Symptoms
Stroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the blood supply to the part of the brain gets suspended. Treatment must begin within a few hours of symptoms as it is a medical emergency in which patients require urgent care. Guided by an expert physician, you can identify the possible causes behind your headache, weakness, dizziness, or numbness in the body and manage your condition before it turns serious. Talking to doctors who know what you are going through will help you closely monitor your health and wellbeing. Consult a neurology expert at Century Medical and Dental Center to recognize the signs of a stroke and get emergency care as quick treatment is crucial for survival and recovery.
Stroke is a cerebrovascular disease that affects the blood vessels that provide oxygen to the brain. If the brain does not receive a sufficient amount of oxygen, it can result in serious impairment. Without oxygen in the blood, the brain cells start dying within minutes. The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person, but they usually begin without any warning.
As different parts of the brain control various parts of the body, your symptoms will depend on the part of the brain affected and the extent of the damage. The sooner the patients receive treatment for a stroke, the lesser damage they are likely to suffer as a result.
Causes and effects of stroke
The most common cause of stroke is a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain. This blockage prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the brain, damaging the blood cells. When a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds due to any reason, it can result in blockage in the blood supply to the brain and lead to a stroke.
Stroke can lead to paralysis, loss of speech, memory, vision, and diminished reasoning. Without timely treatment and proper care, it can even lead to death. Stroke victims need prompt evaluation and effective treatment to minimize injury to the brain tissue. You must consult top-rated neurologists in Brooklyn NY, to have your symptoms carefully evaluated and avoid complications. Early treatment plays a crucial role in preventing disability or death.
How Would You Know If You Are Having a Stroke – Common Signs and Symptoms?
Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke can help you take quick action and save a life, either yours or a loved one’s.
Warning signs of a stroke in both men and women include:
- Sudden severe headache with no apparent cause
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, usually on one side of the body
- Unexpected dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye
- Loss of speech or trouble talking or understanding speech
- Sudden episodes of difficulty walking
- Unexplained dizziness or unsteadiness
Sometimes a stroke happens gradually, but chances are you will have one or more symptoms.
Less common symptoms of a stroke include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke
A mini-stroke is an early warning sign that a stroke is about to occur. Although it is brief, it indicates a critical condition that will not go away without medical assistance.
The three main types of stroke include:
- Ischemic stroke or a blocked artery – During an ischemic stroke, the arteries that supply blood to the brain narrow or become blocked. Blood clots or severely reduced blow flow to the brain causes these blockages. Sometimes, pieces of plaque breaking off and blocking a blood vessel can also result in a stroke.
- Hemorrhagic stroke or leaking or bursting of a blood vessel – A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain breaks open or leaks blood. The blood from that artery puts excess pressure on the skull and causes swelling in the brain, damaging brain cells, and tissues.
- Transient ischemic attack or mini-stroke – A transient ischemic attack, often called a mini-stroke, occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked temporarily. The symptoms of TIA are similar to those of a full stroke. However, the symptoms do not last long and disappear after a few minutes or hours, when the blockage moves and blood flow is restored.
Patients show symptoms depending on the type of stroke they are having, where exactly in the brain it takes place, and how acute the bleeding is. The type of stroke you have also affects the treatment and recovery.
Stroke symptoms happen suddenly and simultaneously. But not all symptoms may occur at one time, which often makes it tough for the patients to understand what they are going through.
Signs of a Silent Stroke
A silent stroke refers to a stroke that does not cause any noticeable symptoms or effects. Symptoms of stroke depend on the location of the clot and the part of the brain it is affecting. Sometimes, the area of damage is small, and it occurs in a part of the brain that does not control any vital body functions. Such strokes go undetected and are known as silent strokes.
A silent stroke may include the following symptoms:
- Sudden lack of balance
- Temporary loss of basic muscle movement such as bladder included
- Slight memory loss or trouble remembering things
- Sudden changes in mood or personality
- Problems in concentration
Many people have a silent stroke, and they do not get to know about them unless they occur frequently or your symptoms become apparent. Silent strokes are no less dangerous, and their damage is by no means insignificant.
Silent strokes increase your risk of having a symptomatic stroke in the future. You must not confuse signs of a silent stroke with general signs of aging and consult an expert neurologist to have your condition properly diagnosed and treated to prevent the possibility of a stroke. The doctor will use a brain CT scan or an MRI to check for white spots of lesions where the brain cells stop working after damage.
Learning to Recognize Signs of Stroke
Stroke symptoms are unique because they come without warning and can do lasting damage if they are not treated timely. Learning to recognize the early warning signs and symptoms of stroke can help with prevention, timely treatment, and improve chances of recovery.
The FAST Stroke Detection
Every minute is precious when it comes to treating a stroke. The FAST stroke test can help to detect common signs of stroke and seek prompt treatment. It includes:
- Face – smile and see if one side of the face drops
- Arms – raise both arms and see if one arm drops down
- Speech – say a short phrase and check for slurred or strange speech
- Time – every minute counts
If the answer to any of these is YES, call an ambulance right away. Note down the symptoms to help the doctor determine the condition and start treatment without wasting any time. Effective treatment can prevent threatening damage to brain tissues and disability from stroke.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention – Every Second Matters
Strokes are mostly unexpected attacks, but they can also occur over hours, or several small strokes can occur over time. Symptoms build in intensity as the stroke becomes more acute.
Recognizing signs of stroke is often difficult, and symptoms are mistaken for other conditions such as a heart attack, migraine, or general signs of aging. Call for medical assistance immediately if you feel the onset of symptoms of a stroke or experience any one of them. It is a dangerous condition that can turn life-threatening or disabling if it is not treated timely.
Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke – What to Do
It only takes a few seconds for the brain to stop functioning when a stroke causes brain hemorrhage. The faster the stroke victim is treated, the less devastating the effects will be.
You must call for emergency medical help immediately as time saved is brain saved. At the same time, keeping an eye on the symptoms is very important as the physician will want to know what happened to provide initial treatment.
You must be ready with the following information to help the neurologist make an accurate diagnosis:
- At what time or when the symptoms of stroke began
- The medical history of the patient
- If the patient had a stroke or bleeding inside the brain
- The medication or supplements the patient takes
- If there is any metal inside the body, such as a pacemaker, dental work, jewelry, or hearing aid
- If the patient suffers from any bleeding disorders or other diseases
If you suspect you or a loved one is having a stroke, call 911 immediately and ask for an ambulance. Even if the symptoms disappear while you wait for the ambulance, it is better to visit the neurologist for an assessment.
The experienced neurology doctors at the Century Medical and Dental Center are making breakthrough discoveries in the field to diagnose and treat conditions that lead up to a stroke. The specialists identify what you are going through and provide personalized care to prevent strokes and minimize their devastating effects, giving you a chance to live a better quality of life.