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Stroke Symptoms

Recognizing a Stroke

By

Updated January 24, 2014

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It's important to recognize stroke symptoms as they are happening in order to get help to the victim before the damage is permanent. The National Institue of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) identify the following signs and symptoms of stroke. If a victim suffers any of the following signs or symptoms of stroke, call 911 immediately!

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Causes of Stroke Symptoms

Stroke occurs when a section of the brain is suddenly starved of oxygen. Strokes can happen in two very different ways.
  • Ischemic stroke is a blockage of a blood vessel in the brain that results in death to the brain tissue. Usually, the blockage comes from a blood clot.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and causes bleeding in or around the brain.

Treatment of Stroke

Stroke is a true emergency, a good reason to call 911. Treatment for both types of stroke require early recognition and access to emergency medical care. Using medication to dissolve clots in ischemic stroke should happen within three hours of onset. When suspecting stroke symptoms, be sure to take quick action.
  • Call 911 immediately. Be a good 911 caller and listen carefully to the call taker.
  • Follow the ABC's of First Aid. Pay close attention to the victim's airway; stroke victims have difficulty controlling their own airways.
  • Raise the victim's head. Raising the head helps decrease the pressure on the brain inside the skull.

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