- 14 Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke Center
- Understanding Stroke Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Stroke Quiz
- Atrial Fibrillation Slideshow: Causes, Tests and Treatment
- Patient Comments: Stroke - Symptoms
- What is a stroke?
- What is FAST (recognizing stroke symptoms and signs early)?
- What are FAST stroke symptoms and signs?
- What are other signs and symptoms of stroke in men and women?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a mini-stroke (TIA, transient ischemic attack)
- What should I do if someone is exhibiting signs and symptoms of a stroke?
- Which specialties of doctors treat strokes?
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to an area of the brain is cut off. The symptoms depend upon the region of the brain that is affected by the loss of blood supply and can include changes in sensation or motor control.
Symptoms of a stroke also depend on how much of the brain tissue is deprived of blood supply. For example, someone who had a mild stroke may experience temporary weakness of an arm or leg, but those with a more severe stroke may be permanently paralyzed on one side of their body or be unable to speak. If the blood supply is not quickly restored, either on its own or via medical treatment, the effects may be permanent.
Some people fully recover completely from strokes, but over 2/3 of stroke survivors are left with some type of disability.
What is FAST (recognizing stroke symptoms and signs early)?
Acting fast is critical if you suspect that someone may be having a stroke. Immediate treatment of a stroke can minimize long-term effects of the stroke and can even help reduce a person's risk of death from stroke.
FAST is an acronym that can help you quickly recognize the warning signs and symptoms of stroke. You can even download a FAST app from the webpage of the American Stroke Association to help you remember these signs.
What are FAST stroke symptoms and signs?
Use FAST to remember and recognize the following signs and symptoms of stroke:
- F: Face drooping. Ask the person to smile, and see if one side is drooping. One side of the face may also be numb, and the smile may appear uneven.
- A: Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms. Is there weakness or numbness on one side? One arm drifting downward is a sign of one-sided arm weakness.
- S: Speech difficulty. People having a stroke may slur their speech or have trouble speaking at all. Speech may be incomprehensible. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence and look for any speech abnormality.
- T: Time to call 9-1-1! If a person shows any of the symptoms above, even if the symptoms went away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to a hospital immediately.
Quick GuideStroke Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery
What are other signs and symptoms of stroke in men and women?
While these are the hallmark symptoms of stroke, a stroke can cause disruption of any function of the nervous system. Symptoms of stroke typically occur on one side of the body and come on suddenly. With a transient ischemic attack (sometimes called a mini-stroke) the symptoms appear and may go away on their own. In any case, it is essential to get the affected person to a hospital as soon as possible to enable prompt treatment.
Other possible signs and symptoms of stroke include the sudden onset of:
- Weakness or paralysis of any part of the body.
- Numbness or a "pins and needles" sensation anywhere in the body.
- Gait disturbances (trouble walking) or loss of balance and coordination
- Vision changes, blurred vision, or trouble with eyesight in one or both eyes
- Severe headache that usually is unlike headaches in the past
- Inability to speak, slurred speech, or inability to understand speech
- Loss of sensation in any part of the body
- Memory loss
- Behavioral changes
- Muscle stiffness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Involuntary eye movements
What are the signs and symptoms of a mini-stroke (TIA, transient ischemic attack)
The symptoms of a TIA or mini-stroke are the same as those of a stroke as listed above. With a mini-stroke, the symptoms go away on their own. Any symptoms of a stroke can occur during a mini-stroke.
What should I do if someone is exhibiting signs and symptoms of a stroke?
Remember to think and act FAST (Face drooping; Arm weakness; Speech difficulty; and Time to call 911!) if you see someone who may be having these symptoms. Don't delay and call 9-1-1 immediately. You may help save a life or reduce the chance of long-term disability.
Which specialties of doctors treat strokes?
A person who is having a stroke is typically cared for in an emergency department, and initially seen by a specialist in emergency medicine. Doctors that are typically involved in the care of patients with stroke can include neurologists, endovascular surgical neuroradiology (ESNR) specialists, interventional radiologists (IR), interventional cardiologists (IC), and critical care specialists.
"Spot a Stroke FAST: Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms." American Heart Association.
Daily Health News
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Heart Health Newsletter
"Spot a Stroke FAST: Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms." American Heart Association.
Top 11 Signs and Symptoms of Stroke Related Articles
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Warning Symptoms
Atrial fibrillation or AFib is a type of hear rhythm abnormality. Early warning signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Treatment for atrial fibrillation includes medical procedures, surgery, and medication.
Blood Clot PictureBlood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. See a picture of Blood Clot and learn more about the health topic.
Brain AneurysmBrain aneurysm (cerebral aneurysm) is caused by microscopic damage to artery walls, infections of the artery walls, tumors, trauma, drug abuse. Symptoms include headache, numbness of the face, dilated pupils, changes in vision, the "worst headache of your life," or a painful stiff neck. Immediate treatment for a brain aneurysm is crucial for patient survival.
Brain HemorrhageA brain hemorrhage is a type of stroke caused when an artery bursts in the brain, causing localized bleeding in the surrounding tissue. Causes of brain hemorrhage include aneurysm, liver disease, brain tumor, head trauma, high blood pressure, and blood vessel abnormalities. Symptoms include sudden severe headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of balance, tingling, numbness, vision changes, loss of consciousness, and loss of fine motor skills. Treatment depends upon the cause, location, and size of the brain hemorrhage.
Take the DVT QuizTake the Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism Quiz to learn causes, symptoms, and treatments for these two dangerous conditions.
DVT SlideshowDeep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a dangerous and sometimes fatal blood clot that occurs deep within the lower leg or thigh. Understand the symptoms, treatment and prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Head InjuryIn the United States, head injuries are one of the most common causes of death and disability. Head injuries due to bleeding are generally classified by the location of the blood within the skull, these include:
- epidural hematoma,
- subdural hematoma,
- subarachnoid bleed,
- intracranial bleed,
- sheer injury, edema, and
- skull fracture.
- bleeding from the ear,
- speech difficulties,
- difficulty swallowing, and
- body numbness.
HyperglycemiaHyperglycemia or high blood sugar is a serious health problem for diabetics. There are two types of hyperglycemia, 1) fasting, and 2)postprandial or after meal hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can also lead to ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). There are a variety of causes of hyperglycemia in people with diabetes. Symptoms include:
- increased thirst,
- blurred vision,
- frequent urination and more.
Locked-in SyndromeLocked-in syndrome is a condition that causes paralysis and the inability to speak or move the face. A hemorrhage and blood clot are the main causes of locked-in syndrome, although other causes may be to blame. Treatment of the condition consists of supportive care and use of eye movements to communicate to improve quality of life. Patients who have locked-in syndrome recover in rare cases.
Polycythemia (High Red Blood Cell Count)
Polycythemia (elevated red blood cell count) is a rare blood disease in which the body produces too many red blood cells. Causes of polycythemia are either primary (acquired or genetic mutations) or secondary (diseases, conditions, high altitude). Examples of primary polycythemia include:
- Excessive sweating
- Unintended weight loss
- Gouty arthritis, usually in big toe
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling pressure or fullness on the left side of the abdomen where the spleen is located.
- Vision problems
- Heavy bleeding from minor cuts
- Bleeding from the gums
- Redness in the face
- A burning feeling in the hands and feet
Complications of a high red blood cell count include blood clots, heart attack, stroke, enlarged liver and spleen, angina (heart pain), AML leukemia, and heart failure. Blood clots in the liver or kidney can cause sudden, intense pain. Treatment goals for patients with polycythemia are to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications like heart attack and stroke.
REFERENCE: NIH. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "What Causes Polycythemia Vera"? Updated: Mar 20, 2011.
Stroke SlideshowWhat is a stroke? Learn about stroke symptoms like sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, vision problems, or problems with coordination. Discover causes and recovery of a stroke.
Take the Stroke QuizTake the Stroke Quiz to learn about stroke risks, causes, treatment, and most importantly, prevention.
Stroke Symptoms and Treatment
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include
- double vision or vision loss,
- vertigo, and
- difficulty speaking or understanding speech.
A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Symptoms of Serious Diseases and Health ProblemsLearn how to recognize serious diseases and health problems like strokes, heart attacks, cancers, reproductive problems in females (for example, cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and STDs), breast problems (for example, breast cancer and non-cancer related diseases), lung diseases (for example, COPD, lung cancer, emphysema, and asthma), stomach or digestive diseases (for example, cancers, gallbladder, liver, and pancreatic diseases, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease), bladder problems (for example, urinary incontinence, and kidney infections), skin cancer, muscle and joint problems, emotional problems or mental illness (for example, post-partum depression, major depression, PTSD, mania, and schizophrenia), and headache disorders (for example, migraines, or "the worst headache of your life), and eating disorders and weight problems (for example, anorexia or bulimia).
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke)When a portion of the brain loses blood supply, through a blood clot or embolus, a transient ischemic attack (TIA, mini-stroke) may occur. If the symptoms do not resolve, a stroke most likely has occurred. Symptoms of TIA include: confusion, weakness, lethargy, and loss of function to one side of the body. Risk factors for TIA include vascular disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Treatment depends upon the severity of the TIA, and whether it resolves.