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How to Recognize a Warning Sign of Stroke?

Written by
Dr. Vidhi Talati Joshi
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Feb 09, 2016 and last reviewed on Dec 06, 2018   -  5 min read

Abstract

Stroke is the third leading cause of death today. There are many complications associated with a stroke, which will disturb the day-to-day activities of a person or the family members. Every person must be aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke to save the patient's life. For better protection, a person should know the risk factors of stroke, how to reduce the risk factors, warning signs, and what to do if warning signs appear.

How to Recognize a Warning Sign of Stroke?

Stroke is also referred to as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or brain attack. It means that there is an insult or disturbance in the blood supply of the brain, which leads to neurological function loss. Stroke may cause permanent disability to one or two or all four extremities.

Complications with stroke are abnormalities found with vision, paralysis (inability to move the limb or complete flaccidity) or paraparesis that is, weakness of muscles in one or more extremities, difficulties in speech such as difficulties found in formulation and understanding, gait abnormalities, severe headache, confusion, sudden loss of balance, etc. Hemiplegia - paralysis of one side of the body is a major drawback of stroke. Post-stroke disability is the major complication of stroke.

Types of Stroke:

Hemorrhage (bleeding due to injury) and ischemia (lack of blood supply) are the major causes for the disturbance of blood supply in the brain.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke:

Signs and symptoms of stroke depend upon the area of the brain affected. The most common areas involved in developing stroke are anterior cerebral artery, middle cerebral artery, internal carotid artery, posterior cerebral artery (lacunar syndrome), vertebrobasilar artery, etc. In stroke, many focal deficits are present such as changes in the level of consciousness and abnormal motor, sensory, cognitive, perceptual, and language functions.

Risk Factors for Stroke:

Some of the major causes responsible for stroke are as follows:

  1. High blood pressure.
  2. High cholesterol.
  3. Positive family history.
  4. Diabetes mellitus.
  5. Cardiovascular diseases.
  6. Obesity.
  7. Atrial fibrillation.
  8. Congestive heart failure.
  9. Peripheral vascular disease.
  10. Surgery.
  11. Excess alcohol consumption.
  12. Lack of exercise.
  13. Tobacco smoking.
  14. Age of above 55 years.
  15. African and American races.

Warning Signs of Stroke:

Early warning signs given by the National Stroke Association are as follows:

1) Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA):

2) High Blood Pressure:

High blood pressure increases four to five times the risk of stroke. If blood pressure is above 160/95 mmHg, then it is a warning sign for stroke.

3) Weakness of Limb or Side of the Face:

The above-stated signs may appear before a stroke. Person and his relatives are encouraged to call the emergency department, even if these symptoms go away quickly and are painless. When you find these symptoms, please note the time, as this information is very important for doctors.

During a stroke, time is everything. Stroke needs immediate emergency treatment to prevent permanent focal defects in the brain. Morbidity and mortality rates are high with stroke. If treatment is not given as early as possible, chances for disabilities are more.

How to Diagnose a Stroke?

Management After the Appearance of Warning Signs:

If a patient gets stroke due to atherothrombotic reason, then the person should take a clot-dissolving enzyme such as Tissue plasminogen activator [tPA] 50 - 100 mg once daily or Urokinase or Prourokinase. tPA should be administered within 3 hours of the onset of signs and symptoms of stroke. It must be used in atherothrombotic stroke. It is strongly contraindicated in hemorrhagic stroke because it may increase blood loss. Researchers have proved that a person who was treated with tissue plasminogen did not get any disability or minimum disability as compared to those who did not receive the treatment.

The above-stated medications are used in emergency treatment. Right recognition, right decision, right treatment at right time may save an individual’s life!

If you would like to gather more information about the warning signs of stroke and its emergency management then consult a stroke specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/neurologist/stroke

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Last reviewed at:
06 Dec 2018  -  5 min read

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