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10 Common Symptoms of Stroke

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A stroke is a medical emergency and occurs when there is an interruption of your brain’s blood supply. Basically, it’s an attack on your brain. A stroke is a common condition, with more than 200,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States.

Early treatment with clot busters and other medications reduces brain damage. Other treatments center on preventing complications and additional strokes.

Symptom 1: Numbness

Did you have a sudden numbness or weakness on your face, arm, or leg? Are you unable to move your arms or legs?

With a stroke, this numbness typically occurs on just one side of your body. If you are unable to raise both of your arms over your head at the same time and one arm falls, you may be suffering from a stroke.

Symptom 2: Trouble Speaking

Did you have trouble speaking or understanding others? After a stroke, it may take a while for you to speak clearly. Sometimes, you can’t think of the word or phrase you want to say. Also, a stroke can cause aphasia, a communication disorder that damages your ability to use and comprehend language.

On Caring.com, a family member of a stroke patient stated: “My uncle had a stroke two months ago. His recovery has been good so far. The stroke affected his right side slightly, but the worst part is that his speech is gone. He can say a few words like yes, no and ok. It’s very hard to talk to him and he gets upset when he can't talk back. I was just wondering how long does it usually take for his speech to come back?”

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Symptom 3: Blurred Vision

People who suffer from a stroke may experience blurred, double, or loss of vision. They may or may not recover vision loss.

According to the Stroke Foundation, “Your vision depends on a healthy eye to receive information and a healthy brain to process that information. The nerves in the eye travel from the eye through the brain to the occipital cortex at the back of the brain, allowing you to see. Most strokes affect one side of the brain. Nerves from each eye travel together in the brain, so both eyes are affected. If the right side of your brain is damaged, the left side vision in each eye may be affected. It is rare for both sides of the brain to be affected by stroke. When it does happen, it can result in blindness.”

Symptom 4: Loss of Balance

Do you suffer from loss of balance? Have trouble walking? Have you had a serious fall? Dizzy or unsteady?

After a stroke, you may need to do balance exercises, as well as schedule physical and occupational therapy.

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Symptom 5: Sudden Headache

An abrupt and severe headache or a headache is different from any other one you have had can be a sign of a stroke. Don’t ignore a headache that has unusual pain and symptoms because a stroke can be life-threatening.

Also, if you get migraines, then it is more difficult to identify whether a headache is a migraine or stroke.

Symptom 6: Face Droops

Are you able to smile? Or does one side look lopsided or uneven? Are you drooling? If one side of your face droops or feels numb, you may be having a stoke.

If nerves that control the muscles in your face are damaged in your brain, then a stroke can cause facial paralysis. 

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Symptom 7: Muscle Weakness

Is it difficult to move your face, arm, hand, or leg on one side of your body? With a stroke, your muscles may become very stiff and tight, making it difficult to move your arms and legs.

Some stroke victims can regain movement, but some experience limited mobility, or even paralysis.

Symptom 8: Paralysis

Paralysis on one side of your body can occur due to a stroke. You can no longer voluntarily move your face, arm, or leg because messaging between your brain and muscles has been interrupted.

According to the national Stroke Association, “Paralysis or the inability of a muscle to move is one of the most common disabilities resulting from stroke. As many as 9 out of 10 stroke survivors have some degree of paralysis immediately following a stroke. Continued rehabilitation and therapy can help stroke survivors regain voluntary movement even years following their stroke.”

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Symptom 9: Overactive Reflexes

Do you suddenly or involuntarily bend or straighten you arms or legs? Do you have muscle spasms when touched?

According to a post on Mycerebellarstrokerecovery.com, “When your reflexes are tested, what is being looked for is if they’re equal on each side.  Hopefully, your reflexes are normal.  When they’re bigger than normal that is called hyper-reflexive.  When they are smaller than normal that is called hypo-reflexive.  After a stroke, your reflexes will be hyper-reflexive, and this is why….When you have a stroke there is damage to your central nervous system.  This consists of your brain and spinal cord.  When the central nervous doesn’t work correctly, the peripheral nervous system (all the nerves that go out to your muscles and organs) is allowed to go wild because it is not being controlled properly.  The central nervous system keeps the peripheral nervous system in check.” 

Symptom 10: Eye Movement

A stroke may involve rapid and involuntary eye movement. It can affect how you control your eyes.

A stroke can lead to constant, unsteady movement of your eyes because both eyes may not work together as a pair.

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