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8 Stroke Warning Signs Everyone Should Know

Posted by Bobby Stephenson

Mar 12, 2024 8:00:00 AM

8 Stroke Warning Signs Everyone Should Know

Stroke is the most frequent cause of long-term disability in the U.S. and the fifth leading cause of death, according to the American Stroke Association.

Consider these recent statistics from the CDC:

  • One in six deaths from cardiovascular disease was due to stroke.
  • Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Every three minutes and 14 seconds, someone dies of a stroke.
  • Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.

Given those stark statistics and the importance of early medical intervention in cases of stroke, it is important to know how to recognize a stroke when it occurs.

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Warning Signs Before a Stoke

Here are eight stroke warning signs that everyone should know:

  1. Facial numbness or drooping – This may be indicated by a lopsided smile or drooping of the eyelid and/or cheek on one side of the face.
  1. Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg – A person may have trouble controlling one side of the body, with one arm that drifts downward when they are asked to raise their arms, a weak grip with one hand, or one leg that shuffles along while walking.
  1. Confusion – A person who is having a stroke may suddenly seem confused, having trouble understanding other people or what is going on around them.
  1. Difficulty with speech – Speech may be slurred, or a person may have difficulty with word retrieval – unable to find the appropriate words to express thoughts or recall the names of everyday items or familiar people.
  1. Sudden vision changes – A person in the midst of a stroke may have blurred vision, double vision or significant gaps in their field of vision, unable to see a person or object slightly off to the side of them, for instance.
  1. Trouble walking – A stroke can cause a person to feel very dizzy or suddenly have difficulty with balance and coordination, issues that are often most obvious while a person is standing or walking.
  1. Severe and sudden headache pain – Intense, sudden onset headache pain is among the more common stroke warning signs.
  1. Nausea and vomiting – Sudden feelings of all-over weakness, nausea and vomiting with no obvious cause can be a symptom of stroke.

The American Stroke Association recommends memorizing the FAST acronym to help spot signs quickly. The FAST acronym is a mnemonic used to help recognize the warning signs of a stroke. "F" stands for face drooping, where one side of the face may droop or become numb. "A" represents arm weakness, where one arm may become weak or numb. "S" indicates speech difficulty, where speech may become slurred or difficult to understand. Finally, "T" emphasizes the importance of time - if any of these signs are observed, it's crucial to act quickly and call emergency services immediately. Time is of the essence in stroke treatment, and early intervention can significantly improve outcomes.

Knowing the early warning signs of a stroke is crucial because prompt medical treatment can significantly improve outcomes and reduce the risk of long-term disability or death. Time is of the essence in stroke treatment, as certain interventions, such as clot-busting medications or mechanical clot retrieval, are most effective when administered within a narrow window of time after the onset of symptoms. Recognizing the warning signs allows individuals to seek medical attention promptly, leading to faster diagnosis and treatment. This can help minimize brain damage and improve the chances of a full recovery. Additionally, knowing the warning signs enables bystanders to recognize when someone else may be experiencing a stroke and take appropriate action, potentially saving lives.

Stroke Warning Signs: Women Should Also Pay Attention to These Signals 

While the general warning signs of a stroke apply to both men and women, women may experience additional or different symptoms. Some research suggests that women may be more likely to experience atypical symptoms or symptoms that are less commonly associated with stroke. These can include:

  • Sudden hiccups 
  • Sudden general weakness 
  • Sudden chest pain or palpitations 
  • Sudden shortness of breath 
  • Sudden behavioral changes 

It's important to note that the symptoms of a stroke can vary widely among individuals, regardless of gender. However, women should be aware of these additional warning signs and seek medical attention immediately if they experience any sudden, unusual, or unexplained symptoms.

Experiencing Early Stroke Warning Signs? 

If you or a loved one is showing any combination of these common warning signs of stroke, immediate action is essential, and you must consult a doctor immediately. Make note of the approximate time that the first symptoms appeared, if possible, then get emergency medical attention as quickly as possible. Early medical treatment, such as clot-dissolving medications and other interventions, can really make a big difference in stroke outcomes, saving lives and limiting levels of long-term disability in stroke survivors.

Find Stroke Rehabilitation in Alabama 

Rehab Select stands as a trusted provider of stroke rehab in Alabama, with five locations and offering a tailored, physician-led program. 

Here, you can anticipate receiving personalized and individualized treatment. Your dedicated team of rehabilitation experts, including physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, and mental health professionals, will take the time to understand your unique circumstances and craft a customized treatment strategy. Our stroke rehabilitation programs comprehensively address the physical, cognitive, and emotional ramifications of strokes. Learn more by contacting us for a meeting or tour.

Stroke Rehab eBook

Topics: Stroke Rehabilitation