5 Signs of Stroke

by Jodee on March 1, 2009

Did you know that most people can’t name the 5 signs of stroke? Older people and those who have already had a stroke are most likely to be familiar with the symptoms. A survey was conducted with 86,000 participants from 11 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. All participants were asked five questions to determine whether they knew what symptoms may indicate a stroke and if they know what to do if someone is experiencing them.

Survey Results Not Encouraging

The results of the survey were not encouraging. Less than two in five of the people surveyed could list the five signs of stroke and knew that they should call 911 to get help in that situation.

The 5 Signs of Stroke

Here are the 5 signs of stroke that you need to be on the lookout for:

  • Severe headache (sudden onset)
  • Vision problems Feeling weak in your arm, leg, or face
  • Trouble speaking or confusion
  • Difficulty walking, loss of balance
  • Dizziness

These symptoms of a stroke can be caused by a number of medical conditions, and you are not able to diagnose a stroke on your own. If you experience any of them, you need to get help immediately. This is a situation where you need to call 911. Don’t worry about possibly getting to the hospital and finding out that it wasn’t a stroke after all. That would be good news, actually.

You are far better off being safe rather than sorry in this situation. Any of these 5 signs may indicate that you are having a stroke and you need to get diagnosed and treated quickly.

Get Help Quickly

Doctors have medications they can give to break up the clot causing the stroke, but to be effective they need to be administered quickly. Ideally, this means within three hours of when the symptoms started. Waiting longer means that the effects may be more severe (and long-lasting) than if you had received prompt treatment.

Treating Stroke

Most strokes are caused by a blood clot in the brain.

If you get to a hospital right away, doctors can administer tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) to break up the clot. The medication is administered through an IV to open up the blood vessel being affected by the clot.

This approach may be used for Ischemic strokes, which account for 80 percent of cases. The other 20 percent of strokes are caused by bleeding in the person’s brain. The treatment for this type of stroke is different; instead of administering a substance that will make the bleeding more severe, surgery may be done to clip off the blood vessel that is hemorrhaging.

Before doctors can treat the stroke effectively, they need to determine what kind it is. To get that valuable information, they need to do a brain scan. The bottom line here is that everyone needs to be aware of the 5 signs of stroke and what to do when they occur. Don’t wait to see if they will clear up or get worse on their own. Call 911 and get help immediately.

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