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Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

Jul 7, 2019

signs symptoms stroke
Even though you might not exhibit any dramatic symptoms while you’re having a stroke, this type of cardiovascular condition can cause serious, long-term damage to your health and well-being. Learn the top 10 signs of strokes, how to administer a stroke test, and what you should do if you think you or a loved one has suffered a stroke.

What Are the First Signs of a Stroke?

Unlike other types of cardiovascular diseases, strokes don’t always exhibit immediately noticeable symptoms. While pre-stroke symptoms and headaches might set in shortly before you suffer from this type of cardiovascular condition, many people experience strokes or are around others who have strokes without noticing that a catastrophic loss of oxygen in the brain has occurred.


To make it easier to identify strokes as they happen, the National Stroke Association has combined a group of immediately noticeable stroke symptoms in a stroke test called FAST. This stroke identification system covers the following four common symptoms of stroke:

  • F – Face: A stroke often affects one side of the body and not the other. Ask the person to smile, and check if one side of his or her face droops.
  • A – Arms: Ask the person to raise his or her arms. If one arm drifts downward, it’s possible a stroke has occurred.
  • S – Speech: Slurred speech or using incorrect words can be a sign of stroke. Ask the person to complete a sentence, and note any misspoken words.
  • T – Time: Keep in mind that responding to stroke symptoms is time-sensitive. Don’t wait to call 911 if you notice any of the above symptoms.

10 Signs of Stroke

There are quite a few signs and symptoms of a stroke that you should watch out for. Mild stroke symptoms might be hard to notice, and some symptoms of this cardiovascular condition are so hard to identify that they’re called silent stroke symptoms. Here are the top 10 signs of stroke that you should be aware of:

  • Lack of balance: The brain damage caused by a stroke can make it hard to stand up or walk without falling over.
  • Numbness: Stokes can cause pervasive numbness throughout the entire body or one side of the body.
  • Weakness: Suffering a stroke can cause muscle weakness in various parts of the body.
  • Difficulty seeing: Strokes can cause visual confusion or blurred vision in one or both eyes.
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech: In addition to making speech difficult, strokes can make it hard to understand spoken language.
  • Severe head pain: Stokes can cause severe, migraine-like head pain.
  • Loss of speech faculties: Suffering a stroke can make speech garbled or confused.
  • Dizziness: One common stroke symptom is pervasive dizziness even when you’re sitting down.
  • Mental confusion: Strokes can make it hard to understand what’s going on.
  • Trouble walking: Due to dizziness and muscle weakness, suffering from a stroke can make it hard to walk.

How Can You Avoid Having a Stroke?

Strokes occur when part of your brain suffers catastrophic oxygen loss. Like the other cells in your body, your brain cells need oxygen to survive, and when an artery going to your brain gets clogged or otherwise can no longer carry blood to your central nervous system tissue, the part of your brain serviced by that artery asphyxiates and dies.


General practices that improve your cardiovascular health also reduce your chances of suffering a stroke. For instance, forms of bad cholesterol, such as LDL and HDL, clog your arteries over time, and they could cause your brain to lose access to oxygen. In addition, conditions like obesity and diabetes increase your chances of stroke, and lifestyle choices like smoking and heavy drinking can also reduce your cardiovascular health and make suffering from a stroke more likely. Observing a healthy diet and enjoying regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of stroke.

What to Do When You Notice Stroke Symptoms

It’s better to be safe than sorry. As soon as you notice any symptoms that might indicate the onset of a stroke, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY. Even if it’s a false alarm and there’s no reason for concern, you don’t want to wait until it’s too late. If you get medical help immediately, it might be possible to reduce the severity of stroke symptoms. If you don’t call 911 to get the help you need, the person suffering from the stroke could be left with crippling symptoms or even die. The faster you act when you suspect a stroke, the better, so memorize the stroke symptoms we’ve covered, and don’t hesitate to call for help if you believe a stroke has occurred.