Strokes occur very suddenly, and it is important to act quickly if you or someone you know has experienced any of the following symptoms:
- Sudden onset weakness or paralysis of an arm, leg, side of the face
- Sudden onset numbness, tingling, decreased sensation
- Sudden Vision changes
- Sudden onset slurred speech, inability to speak or understand speech, or difficulty reading or writing
- Swallowing difficulties or drooling
- Sudden onset vertigo (spinning sensation)
- Sudden Loss of balance or coordination
The symptoms of stroke depend on what part of the brain is damaged. In some cases, a person may not even be aware that he or she has had a stroke.
The American Stroke Association recommends evaluating the five following behaviors to determine if symptoms are due to a stroke:
- Walk - Is the patient's balance off?
- Talk - Is the patient's face droopy or speech slurred?
- Reach - Is one side weak or numb?
- See - Is the patient's vision all or partially lost?
- Feel - Is the patient's headache severe?
Don't wait. Call 9-1-1!
If you see one of these symptoms, and even if it goes away, call 9-1-1 immediately. This person may be having a stroke. If a patient can receive treatment within the first few hours after onset, there is a greater chance for improvement.