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Stroke Health Center

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When To Call a Doctor

Call911or other emergency services now if you have signs of a stroke:

  • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
  • Sudden vision changes.
  • Sudden trouble speaking.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
  • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
  • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.

Signs of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) are similar to signs of a stroke. But TIA symptoms usually disappear after 10 to 20 minutes, although they may last longer. There is no way to tell whether the symptoms are caused by a stroke or by TIA, so emergency medical care is needed for both conditions.

Recommended Related to Stroke

Silent Stroke: What You Need to Know

Have you had a stroke? How could you tell? A stroke is a sudden stop of blood supply to part of the brain. Some people have strokes without ever knowing it. These so-called silent strokes either have no easy-to-recognize symptoms, or you don’t remember them. But they do cause permanent damage in your brain. If you've had more than one silent stroke, you may have thinking and memory problems. They can also lead to more severe strokes.

Read the Silent Stroke: What You Need to Know article > >

Call your doctor right away if you:

  • Have had recent symptoms of a TIA or stroke, even if the symptoms have disappeared.
  • Are taking aspirin or other medicines that prevent blood clotting and you notice any signs of bleeding.
  • Have a choking episode from food going down your windpipe.
  • Have signs of a blood clot in a deep blood vessel, which include redness, warmth, and pain in a specific area of your arm or leg.

Call your doctor for an appointment if you:

  • Think you have had a TIA in the past and have not talked with your doctor about it.
  • Have a pressure sore.
  • Notice that your affected arm or leg is becoming increasingly stiff or you are not able to straighten it (spasticity).
  • Notice signs of a urinary tract infection. Signs may include fever, pain with urination, blood in urine, and low back (flank) pain.
  • Are having trouble keeping your balance.

Who to see

Doctors who can diagnose and treat stroke include:

If you need surgery or have other health problems, other specialists may be consulted, such as a:

Some hospitals have a stroke team made up of many different health professionals, such as a neurologist, a neuroradiologist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a rehabilitation doctor (physiatrist), a nurse, and a social worker.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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