How to Recognize the Early Warning Signs of Stroke (and Save a Life!)

How to Recognize the Early Warning Signs of Stroke (and Save a Life!)

Can you identify the 8 early warning signs of stroke? Knowing first signs of a stroke can help you save a life because time lost is brain lost.

With 795,000 strokes occurring each year in the US, everyone should know the early stroke symptoms. That way you can help get someone the urgent medical attention they need.

Here’s everything you need to know about stroke symptoms and when emergency medical attention is needed.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when an artery in the brain becomes either clogged by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke).

difference between ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke

There is also a type of stroke called a TIA (transient ischemic attack) which is like a “mini stroke.”

Although TIAs resolve themselves, they are major warning signs that another stroke is coming.

Of the people who get TIAs, 40% eventually have a stroke, so early detection is essential.

Recognizing the Early Warning Signs of Stroke

There are three major stroke symptoms that occur.

These early signs of stroke can be easily remembered with the acronym FAST:

  • Facial drooping: Half of the face is drooping or numb. Ask the person to smile to identify this stroke symptom
  • Arm weakness: One arm or one side of the body is weak or paralyzed. Ask the person to lift their arm to identify this symptom.
  • Speech difficulty: Words become slurred or difficult. Ask the person to say your name to identify this warning sign.
  • Time: When these early signs of stroke are present, urgent medical attention is required ASAP!

how to spot the early signs of stroke

While these are the most common symptoms, there are other early warning signs of stroke that may occur.

Other Early Stroke Symptoms

Sometimes stroke occurs in areas of the brain that produce symptoms unlike the ones above.

Although they aren’t common, you should also be able to identify these rare early warning signs of stroke:

  • Dizziness: When dizziness occurs suddenly without an obvious cause, it can foreshadow a stroke – especially a cerebellar stroke.
  • Vertigo: About 3% of people admitted to the emergency room for vertigo are actually having strokes. Don’t ignore this early stroke warning sign.
  • Confusion: Sudden onset of confusion could be a stroke symptom. Don’t let doctors shrug it off – demand an MRI scan.
  • Sudden vision problems: Trouble seeing in one or both eyes could indicate a stroke near the vision center of the brain.
  • Severe headache: A sudden onset headache could actually be a stroke. Demand an MRI scan from your doctor, especially if it doesn’t go away.

If you notice someone with any of these symptoms, call for emergency help immediately because they could be having a life-threatening stroke.

When someone’s life is in danger, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Time Is Brain

A quick response from a medical team is essential to save as much brain as possible – and save a life!

Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US. The number of deaths can go down, however, by educating others to recognize the early warning signs of stroke and when call for help.

While stroke is happening, the part of the brain that’s deprived of oxygen-rich blood begins to die.

The brain damage from stroke is irreversible, so swift treatment is essential to save a life and minimize the side effects of stroke.

After treatment, don’t lose hope for restoring brain function.

Even though you cannot reverse brain damage, the brain can still heal itself through rehabilitation after stroke.