How to Identify Symptoms of a Brain Stroke


A brain stroke, or brain attack, is caused by a sudden and drastic decrease in the amount of blood flowing to the brain that causes damage and affects many different body organs and tissues. A brain stroke is caused by an insufficient flow of oxygen carrying blood to brain tissues, which may result in severe to critical damage within a few minutes. Sometimes, this interruption of blood flow is caused by a clot that travels through the bloodstream, or may be caused by narrowed arteries in the brain itself. Often, a stroke is caused by bleeding inside the brain or the space that is found between the brain and the skull, putting pressure on the brain. Risks of stroke or brain attack increase with age, especially in males over the age of 55, and is often also increased with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Learning to identify symptoms of a brain stroke may save your life and prevent serious and long term complications and decrease in metal health.

Always be observant of your own body and ranges of 'normality' in family and friends. Often, symptoms of brain stroke will be different in individuals, depending on age, gender, physical health and other issues. One of the first signs of something wrong with the brain or central nervous system is a sudden difficulty speaking. Some individuals may have difficulty forming words, or using words correctly. Often, this sudden inability is met with confusion and dismay. Any sudden inability to form cohesive words or sentences should be assessed by a physician as soon as possible.

Pay attention to your body. If you suddenly discover that you have difficulty moving fingers, toes or hands or feet on one side of the body, or that the facial muscles on one side of the face seem lopsided or slow to respond to facial gestures, seek help immediately.

Watch for a sudden heavy feeling in an arm or leg, or a feeling of tingling or numbness that seems moderate to severe, especially if you have never felt anything like that before. This sensation may or may not be accompanied by an inability to move or control the arm or leg as usual.

Watch for any type of changes in vision or sudden, severe headaches. Sometimes, headaches will affect only one side of the head.

Sudden loss of bladder or bowel control is another major symptom of a brain stroke or attack.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never put off going to a doctor or emergency room because you might feel embarrassed that you are not suffering from what you think you are. It's better not to take chances, especially with those thinking they may be having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Call 9-1-1 if you believe you or a loved one is suffering from a brain stroke, no matter how minor your symptoms. The first few hours after any type of brain or heart attack episode may be critical for effective treatment.

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