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10 warning signs of a stroke

A stroke (stroke) occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is interrupted, leading to damage to brain cells. Rapid intervention as soon as the warning signs of a stroke are detected can reduce brain damage and save lives. If the FAST test that we will see at the end of the article is a memo to act quickly when the stroke occurs, around ten warning signs can guide you during moments of life with your loved ones. We will end this post with a reminder of the preventive actions to adopt to avoid the occurrence of a stroke as best as possible.

1. Weakness or numbness

One of the most common warning signs of stroke is sudden weakness or numbness in the body, usually in the face, arm or leg. This unusual sensation is often one-sided; the person may suddenly lose the ability to move part of their body or experience a feeling of numbness.

2. Language difficulties

As a warning sign of a stroke, it is possible to start stammering, having difficulty pronouncing words clearly. Sounds mix, language becomes incoherent. 

3. Vision problems

A person who is about to have a stroke may suddenly experience partial or complete loss of vision in one or both eyes. Vision may become blurred, double or altered. This warning sign of a stroke can be very confusing for the person affected.

4. Severe and unusual headaches

People who have a history of stroke often report having the worst headaches they have ever had. Headaches associated with stroke can come on suddenly, be severe, and resist common pain medications. It is important to note that not every severe, unusual headache does not necessarily mean a stroke; but when it is associated with other symptoms, it is better to take it seriously.

5. Confusion

A person about to have a stroke may seem disoriented, disorganized, or have difficulty answering questions coherently. She may be unable to understand simple information or follow basic instructions.

6. Loss of coordination

A person who is about to have a stroke may suddenly have difficulty walking, standing, or performing simple movements. She may stumble or stagger.

7. Loss of consciousness

In some cases, it is possible to lose consciousness before having a stroke. The duration of loss of consciousness varies from a few moments to several minutes; in this second case it becomes more severe. Loss of consciousness, whatever it may be, should always be taken seriously and consulted immediately.

8. Swallowing disorder

A sudden difficulty swallowing can also occur before a stroke. The person may have difficulty swallowing food or drink, which may then lead to temporary choking or severe coughing fits.

9. Vertigo or dizziness

Vertigo or dizziness is sometimes associated with a stroke. A person may feel unbalanced, like the room is spinning around them, or feel lightheaded. These symptoms may be accompanied by nausea or vomiting. Be careful, vertigo or dizziness does not necessarily mean an imminent stroke. Listen for other warning signs.

10. Severe facial or head pain

Although less common, severe facial or head pain can herald a stroke. This pain can be felt in the face, neck, or head, and is often shooting or shooting. 

Note that the warning signs of stroke can vary from one person to another. In addition, not all the signs are necessarily present. Finally, these symptoms may disappear, but that does not mean that the risk of stroke is no longer present. If in doubt, it is imperative to seek medical help immediately. Every minute counts during a stroke because rapid intervention can save lives and reduce brain damage.

The FAST test to recognize a stroke

FAST stands for Face, Arm, Speech and Time. It is highlighted on the website of the High Authority of Health.

  • In French, the face: ask the person to smile if the facial expressions seem unusual. 
  • The arm: ask the person to raise both arms if they seem dangling.
  • Speech: If the person starts to have incoherent speech, ask them to repeat a simple sentence. 
  • Time: the person suffering from one of the three symptoms mentioned must urgently be treated.
Preventing the warning signs of stroke

Before getting to the warning signs of stroke, it is even better to prevent them. You can still reduce the risk factors for a stroke with these tips: 

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle, both in terms of diet which must be balanced, and physical activity which must be regular.
  • Stop smoking and limit alcohol consumption to reduce the risk factors for having a stroke. 
  • Monitor your diabetes, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. 
  • Reduce your stress which can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.