What are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

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  • Written By: Emma Lloyd
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
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The symptoms of a stroke include sudden feelings of weakness, numbness, or paralysis in the leg, arm, or face. These symptoms are usually unilateral, meaning they are experienced on one side of the body only. Sudden headaches, confusion, distorted vision, and difficulty speaking are also among the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

A stroke can cause temporary or permanent brain damage due to reduced blood flow to the brain. Getting prompt treatment is crucial for people who experience a stroke, to try and restore blood flow and minimize the damage done. When medical care is obtained as quickly as possible, there is a much greater likelihood that the damage done to the brain can be minimized. If a patient is treated promptly, it improves the chances of medication being administered early enough to dissolve a blood clot before significant damage occurs. For this reason, it is important to know how to recognize stroke symptoms.


For most people, the symptoms of a stroke are of very sudden onset, and typically occur without warning. One of the most characteristic symptoms of a stroke is sudden weakness, numbness, or paralysis on one side of the body, usually in the arm, leg, or face. Other symptoms which may accompany this include a sudden and severe headache, full or partial loss of vision, dizziness and loss of balance, loss of memory, and loss of consciousness. In addition, someone having a stroke may suddenly be unable to speak, or may be unable to understand speech.

The symptoms of a mini stroke or mild stroke are quite similar, with the main differences found in the duration or severity of the symptoms. A mini stroke or mild stroke is also known as a transient ischemic attack, meaning that the blood supply to the brain is reduced temporarily. Symptoms of a transient ischemic attack are very similar to symptoms of a stroke, but they may last only a few hours, or as little as a few minutes. A mild or mini stroke is often viewed by doctors as a warning sign that a major stroke may occur if the patient is not able to reduce his or her stroke risk.

The aftereffects of a stroke may be temporary or permanent depending on the extent of the brain damage that occurred during the episode. Impaired vision and speech, difficulty understanding speech, permanent weakness or paralysis, memory loss, and depression or mood swings may be experienced as the aftereffects of a stroke.


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Post 1

in january 2009, i suddenly felt a cramp in my left foot but the cramp continued up my entire left side ending in my jaw. i was alone but the pain caused me to cry out and beg for help. after a few seconds it dissipated. i waited for my doctor's office to open and asked for an appointment. i was told he was booked solid for two weeks and that i should call 911. being very distrustful of the local hospital i decided to wait it out. i didn't tell anyone what was happening to me. i was afraid. the frequency increased until i was hospitalized two weeks later. i learned that i had a brain stem stroke and i was experiencing what is called dystonia. i am blessed that it is now being controlled by medication. does anyone else have this condition? please share.

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