Stroke symptoms include:
- SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body.
- SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.
NOTE THE TIME WHEN ANY SYMPTOMS FIRST APPEAR. There is an FDA-approved clot-buster medication that may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke if given within three hours of the first symptom. Call 911 ASAP!
- Acute Stroke
- Intracranial Hemorrhage
- Monoplegia Arm & Leg
- Spastic Hemiplegia
- Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH)
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
- Visual Loss / Disturbance
Acute Stroke: also known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA), cerebrovascular insult (CVI) or brain attack, is the loss of brain function due to a lack of blood supply to the brain. It can occur following ischemia (lack of blood flow), due to blockage (thrombosis, arterial embolism), or due to a hemorrhage of the central nervous system or intracranial blood vessels. As a result, the affected area of the brain cannot function normally, which may result in an inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the body, a failure to express or understand speech, or a blurring or dimming of vision on one side of the visual field. Some of the risk factors for stroke include age, high blood pressure, previous transcient ischemic attack (TIA), diabetes, high cholesterol, use of tobacco products, or atrial fibrillation.
Aphasia: a condition that affects the brain’s ability to express and understand language, both verbal and written. It can range from difficulty remembering words to losing the ability to speak, read, or write. Aphasia is usually linked to brain damage, most commonly caused by stroke. Complications of this brain damage include cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease. Acute aphasia usually develops quickly after a head injury or stroke; progressive forms develop slowly due to a brain tumor, infection, or dementia. There are several forms of aphasia, with each specific to a particular type of damage and the part of the brain that is affected.
External Resource: National Aphasia Association
Hemiparesis: a weakness on one side of the body caused by stroke or cerebral palsy, although it can also be caused by multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, and other diseases of the nervous system or brain. It is a weakness, whereas hemiplegia is a paralysis. Reasons for hemiparesis are varied but most often it occurs as an effect of another medical issue.
Intracranial Hemorrhage: bleeding within the skull. It is one of the major causes of stroke – responsible for about 10% of strokes. It can be caused by injury or conditions such as high blood pressure or liver disease.
Monoplegia Arm & Leg
Monoplegia of Arm and Leg: a rare and mild form of cerebral palsy (CP) that affects just one limb of the body. It is commonly diagnosed as hemiplegia, as often there is a very mild disability to the corresponding limb on the opposite side of the body. Monoplegia is caused by an injury to the brain and is not a condition caused by nerve injury.
Paraplegia: an impairment in motor or sensory function of the lower extremities. It is usually caused by spinal cord injury or by a congenital condition (such as spinal bifida) that affects the neural elements of the spinal canal. The thoracic, lumbar, and sacral regions are most commonly affected; the torso and arms are not.
Quadriplegia: also known as tetraplegia, is paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all limbs and the torso. The loss impacts both sensation and the ability to control those areas.
Quadriparesis: also known as tetraparesis, is a muscle weakness affecting all limbs.
Spastic Hemiplegia: a neuromuscular condition that results in the muscles on one side of the body being in a constant state of contraction or spasticity. Brain or nerve damage causes the brain to send constant signals to the connections between the nerves and muscles on the affected side of the body. It is similar to strokes in that damage to the left side of the brain affects the right side of the body and vice versa. This condition normally affects the upper body and arms more than the lower body and legs, and results in rigidity, weakness, and low functional abilities ranging from mild impairments to complete paralysis. If both arms are affected, it is known asdouble hemiplegia.
Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH)
Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH): bleeding between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain. This area is called the subarachnoid space. This may occur spontaneously, usually due to a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, or may result from a head injury. SAH is a form of stroke and accounts for one to seven percent of all strokes. Symptoms may include severe headache with a rapid onset, known as athunderclap headache; vomiting; confusion or a lowered level of consciousness; andseizures.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): a momentary episode of neurologic dysfunction caused by a temporary blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. A TIA is often referred to as a mini stroke and has many of the same symptoms as a stroke: sudden weakness or numbness, dimming or loss of vision, aphasia, slurred speech, and mental confusion. Unlike a stroke, the symptoms resolve themselves within a few minutes to up to 24 hours and generally do not cause permanent damage. As having a TIA is a risk factor for eventually having a stroke, it is important that it not be ignored.
Visual Loss / Disturbance
A common effect of a stroke is vision disturbances. These occur when the brainstem or cerebellum are damaged during the stroke. The eye still sees but the connectors to the brain are disturbed and the brain can no longer accurately process what a person sees.