Stroke is a condition in which blood supply to part of the brain is blocked or restricted. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as atherosclerosis (a condition in which fatty deposits called plaque build up along the inner walls of arteries) and high blood pressure. About 5.85 million people were diagnosed with stroke in America in 2017, making it the third leading cause of death there. The sooner you recognize symptoms and seek help, the better your chances of survival. Here are some things you should know about strokes and how to recognize the symptoms:
What are the symptoms of a stroke?
The symptoms of a stroke will vary from person to person based on where in the brain the damage is done. If a stroke is detected in time, most people will experience only a few symptoms before the condition gets better on its own; if it is detected later, however, the outcome can be more severe. Many people who experience a stroke will experience only a few of the following symptoms before they realize something is wrong. These may seem unusual or confusing, but you should know what to look for in order to get help. The most common symptom of a stroke is sudden weakness or numbness in the face or limb on one or both sides of the body. Other symptoms may include difficulty speaking, dizziness or loss of balance, unexplained fatigue, or changes in consciousness. Other symptoms can include vision problems, including double or blurred images, decreased vision, or complete vision loss; tingling or weakness in the legs; pain or discomfort in the arm or neck; abdominal or stomach pain; problems with coordination, such as difficulty walking or balance; urinary or bowel problems, such as difficulty urinating or a sudden change in the amount or frequency of urination.
How to recognize stroke symptoms
– Sudden weakness or numbness in the face or limb on one or both sides of the body. If this is accompanied by dizziness or loss of balance, you may be having a stroke. If you experience other symptoms such as speech or vision problems, you should seek medical help immediately. – Sudden confusion or inability to recognize people or things. – Tingling in the legs or feet or a sudden severe, sharp pain in the legs. – Back pain or sudden change in the amount or frequency of urination. – Unusually severe abdominal pain or nausea.
When to see a doctor after a stroke
– If you experience a sudden onset of weakness or numbness in one or both limbs, it could be a sign of a stroke. If you have other symptoms such as confusion, loss of balance, or vision problems, you should see a doctor immediately. – If you have had a previous stroke, you may have recurrent headaches. You should visit a doctor if you experience sudden, severe headaches that last for more than a few hours or if you experience a headache during the middle of the day. – If you have a family history of stroke, you should see a doctor if you experience a stroke in middle age.
Emergency care for stroke treatment
You will need to be admitted to the hospital and be treated in an intensive care unit if you have any of the following: – Vomiting after stroke; this may indicate an aspiration (a foreign object entering the lungs) caused by weakness or paralysis in the muscles that help with swallowing – Unconsciousness after stroke; this will be treated as a medical emergency and will require prompt intervention – Foul smelling, blood-stained urine after stroke; this may indicate a urinary infection caused in part by urinary spasms caused by the stroke – Difficulty breathing after stroke; this will require immediate treatment in an intensive care unit
Avoiding strokes in the future
People who have had a stroke are more likely to have another one. This is especially true for people who have had a moderate or severe stroke that is not treated promptly. It is important to prevent strokes by controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels and keeping your weight in a healthy range. If you smoke, you should also quit. Even if you have had a previous stroke, you can lower your risk of having a new stroke by following these guidelines: – Don’t smoke. – Don’t abuse alcohol, even if you are already diabetic. – Maintain a healthy body weight. – Exercise regularly. – Get the proper amount of sleep. – Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
Strokes are common and serious conditions that can quickly cause serious, long-term disability in a person’s body and brain. Strokes can be caused by a combination of factors – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and aneurysms (HAG-roh-nims) – and can occur in any part of the brain. The sooner you recognize symptoms and seek help, the better your chances of survival. Here are some things you should know about strokes and how to recognize the symptoms.