Stroke Warning Signs
The symptoms of stroke depend on what part of the brain is damaged. In some cases, a person may not even be aware that he or she has had a stroke. Symptoms usually develop suddenly and without warning, or they may occur on and off for the first day or two. Symptoms are usually most severe when the stroke first happens, but they may slowly get worse.
One might experience a headache, especially if the stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain. The headache:
- Starts suddenly and may be severe
- Occurs when lying flat
- Wakes you up from sleep
- Gets worse when you change positions or when you bend, strain, or cough
Other symptoms depend on the severity of the stroke and what part of the brain is affected. Symptoms may include:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
- Difficulty speaking or understanding; sluggish speech
- Blurred vision or trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Unexplained dizziness, confusion or loss or balance and coordination
- Sudden or severe headache with no known cause
When to See a Doctor
If you suspect a family member or loved one is suffering a stroke, it is important to act F.A.S.T. Ask the person to do the following:
Face - Check for facial droop or an uneven smile.
Arm - Observe if one arm lags behind, or is not raised as high as the opposite arm. Also check to see if the person is unable to maintain both their arms at equal height.
Speech - Ask your loved one to repeat a simple sentence, such as "the cow jumped over the moon." Check to see if the person’s speech is altered or slurred, or if they have difficulty understanding.
Time - Call 911 and get to the hospital immediately.
Any one of these signs may be indicative of a stroke. If the person has one or more of these signs, call 911 immediately. Do NOT attempt to transport the person to the hospital on your own.