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Stroke (cont.)

Stroke Symptoms

The symptoms of a stroke depend on what part of the brain and how much of the brain tissue is affected.

  • Stroke symptoms usually come on suddenly -- in minutes to an hour.
  • There is usually no pain associated with the symptoms.
  • The symptoms may come and go, go away totally, or get worse over the course of several hours.
  • If the symptoms go away completely in a short time (fewer than 24 hours), the episode is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
  • One-third of all strokes occur during sleep, so people first notice the symptoms when they wake up; this situation makes it difficult to time when the stroke actually began.
  • These are the common symptoms of stroke:
    • Weakness in the arm or leg or both on the same side: This can range from total paralysis to a very mild weakness. Complete numbness or a pins-and-needles feeling may be present on one side of the body or part of one side of the body.
    • Weakness in the muscles of the face: The face may droop or look lopsided. Speech may be slurred because the patient can't control the movement of their lips or tongue.
    • Difficulty speaking: The patient can't speak, speech may be very slurred, or when the person speaks, the words sound fine but do not make sense.
    • Coordination problems: The patient may seem uncoordinated and stumble or have difficulty walking or difficulty picking up objects.
    • Dizziness: The patient may feel drunk or dizzy or have difficulty swallowing.
    • Vision problems: The patient may develop difficulty with vision, such as double vision, loss of peripheral (side) vision, or blindness. (Blurred vision by itself is not usually a symptom of stroke.)
    • Sudden headache: A sudden, severe headache may strike like "a bolt out of the blue."
    • Loss of consciousness: The patient may become unconscious or hard to arouse and could die.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/11/2013

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Stroke, Ischemic »

Stroke is characterized by the sudden loss of blood circulation to an area of the brain, resulting in a corresponding loss of neurologic function.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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