In the United States, strokes are the fifth leading cause of death according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Even though strokes are one of the deadliest conditions in the United States, many of us are not aware of the signs and symptoms that can lead to a stroke. 

The most effective way to avoid a stroke is to be aware of its signs and symptoms and seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

So let’s look at the answer to a common question people have… how do I know if I’m having a stroke? Today, we will share with you the signs and symptoms of a stroke. 

How Do I Know If I’m Having A Stroke?

The signs of a stroke attack include the following:

  • Numbness or weakness in different body parts, including the face, arms, or legs. Most of the time, numbness can only be felt on one side.
  • Having difficulty understanding other people
  • Having difficulty talking
  • Having trouble seeing with one or both eyes
  • Having trouble walking 
  • Having trouble staying balanced or coordinated
  • Having trouble swallowing
  • Drooping face
  • Dizziness and similar symptoms
  • Severe and sharp headaches for no reason

A stroke occurs when the brain is not getting the right amount of blood it needs to function well. Most of the time, this happens when a clot or a burst artery prevents the blood from reaching the brain.

Difference Between a Stroke and a Transient Ischemic Attack

One specific type of stroke is called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. This is also known as a mini-stroke. A transient ischemic attack is a precursor to and a warning sign that you are at risk of stroke. 

The most significant distinction between a stroke and a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is that TIA symptoms do not last for an extended period. Usually, the symptoms of a TIA last only 24 hours or a day.

Symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a stroke and include:

  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Severe headaches
  • Trouble understanding others as well as speaking
  • Loss of balance

Testing for a stroke

A test known as the FAST test can be used to determine whether or not someone has had a stroke. FAST is an acronym that stands for Face, Arms, Speech, and Time.

For the Face test, you may be asked to smile in response to the questions. If one side of your face begins to droop, this is a warning sign.

For the Arms test, you may be required to raise both arms. That is done to see if one of your arms falls lower than the other.

For the Speech test, you may be required to deliver a brief speech. This can determine whether or not your speech is slouchy or strange.

In the event that you test positive on parts of the test, it is imperative that you seek medical attention. It is important to treat a stroke or a mini-stroke as an emergency. The sooner you can receive treatment, the better the outcomes will be.

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