Strokes are related to high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle and too many free radicals in the body.
We’re also at a higher risk of suffering from a stroke if we smoke, drink too much alcohol and are under a lot of stress.
In this article, we’re going to tell you about the important signs of a stroke.
What you should know about strokes
When blood doesn’t flow properly into the brain, cells don’t receive the nutrients and oxygen they need to function properly, and therefore die.
Cerebrovascular diseases are the third leading cause of death in the Western world and the first cause of permanent disability. They’re also one of the triggers of neurological deficit in the elderly.
There are different types of strokes based on the area of the brain affected:
This type of stroke is also called an occlusive attack or cerebral infarction and happens when the blood supply to the brain is suddenly lost.
This is due to the obstruction of certain arteries in charge of bringing blood to our brain matter. It can be caused by an accumulation of calcium, an embolism or arteriosclerosis.
This type of stroke occurs when a brain blood vessel ruptures, either because of a congenital aneurysm or high blood pressure.
This bleeding causes a stroke because it deprives the cerebral area of blood supply or because the blood exerts pressure on the brain structures.
Once the clot is removed, it takes between 24 and 48 hours to determine which area has been affected.
How to Spot a Stroke
No matter what the cause or type of stroke, strokes are always a medical emergency, as they happen suddenly and can leave serious permanent sequelae in merely a couple of minutes.
Furthermore, the severity of the stroke depends on how much blood is involved.
The severity of the damage can vary depending on how quickly medical help is received. This is why it’s so important to be aware of the warning signs that our body gives us.
If you are in the group of people most at risk of having a stroke, you should be more alert to the following signs of a possible stroke:
Dizziness and trouble walking
- Since the blood flow to the brain has decreased, you may suddenly feel dizzy.
- You may also experience a lack of balance or coordination and this may cause you to stumble.
- Any movement that requires attention will be affected.
Weakness or numbness
One sign of a stroke is being unable to lift your arms (one at a time or both at the same time) and keep them in the air.
You will also feel numb or have trouble lifting an object, even if it hardly weighs anything.
Many people drop what they hold in their hand because they can’t hold it.
In addition, we may feel a tingling sensation or numbness in our legs. We may need to sit and stay still for a few seconds, since none of our limbs may be working.
When suffering a stroke, we not only find it difficult to walk or move, but we also have problems when expressing ourselves.
Slurred speech, not being able to find adequate terms to explain something or inconsistencies in your speech can be signs of a stroke.
You’ll also experience facial paralysis, as well as have difficulties in expressing yourself.
This feeling is similar to when you go the dentist and they give you anesthesia in order to remove a tooth. In other words, you’re unable to smile, or to open your eyes. The paralysis is almost always only on one side of the face.
Furthermore, you’ll also experience other typical problems associated with a stroke, such as blurred, cloudy, double or darkened vision.
An intense migraine
We’ve all experienced headaches, even strong ones. However, before a stroke, you can experience a migraine so intense that you can’t do anything.
It appears suddenly and is accompanied by dizziness, nausea or vomiting. In the case of suffering a hemorrhagic stroke, headaches can even cause a fainting spell.
The main characteristic of these signs is that they can appear without the person noticing it. Others will think that the individual is distracted, tired, confused or even drunk.
When the symptoms appear for a few seconds or minutes and then disappear, what you’re experiencing is a transient stroke, you should not dismiss your symptoms.
This is a clear sign that blood is not reaching your brain properly and that you could suffer from a serious stroke in the future.
In this case, you should call an ambulance so that medical professionals con properly diagnose the problem.
Many nurses or paramedics conduct an on-site test known as FAST (Face Arm Speech Test).
It consists of three parts:
- Face: Analyze if there is involuntary muscular asymmetry in the facial features.
- Arms: Test whether the patient can voluntarily move his or her arms, or feels tingling and numbness in their arms.
- Speech: Ask a series of questions to determine if the patient has difficulty speaking or if they sound drunk or drugged.