Stroke - Symptoms

If you have symptoms of a stroke, call 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.

FAST is a simple way to remember the main symptoms of stroke. Recognizing these symptoms helps you know when to call for medical help. FAST stands for:

  • Face drooping.
  • Arm weakness.
  • Speech difficulty.
  • Time to call .

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.

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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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