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Stroke - Symptoms

If you have symptoms of a stroke, call 911 or other emergency services right away. General symptoms of a stroke include:

  • 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.

Symptoms can vary depending on whether the stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke), where the stroke occurs in the brain, and how bad it is.

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It all started with a headache -- pounding pain behind the left eye -- that wouldn't go away. A healthy 37-year-old at the time, Jill Bolte Taylor tried to shake the pain with a cardioworkout. But that didn't work. Feeling rocky, Taylor headed for her shower. She noticed herself losing coordination and struggling with balance -- she had to lean against her shower wall. The shower's roar startled her, and her sense of where her body began and ended was fading. "My perception of myself was that...

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A stroke usually happens suddenly but may occur over hours. For example, you may have mild weakness at first. Over time, you may not be able to move the arm and leg on one side of your body.

If several smaller strokes occur over time, you may have a more gradual change in walking, balance, thinking, or behavior. This is called multi-infarct dementia.

It isn't always easy for people to recognize symptoms of a small stroke. They may mistakenly think the symptoms can be attributed to aging. Or the symptoms may be confused with those of other conditions that cause similar symptoms.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 05, 2013
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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