Are There Warning Signs Before a Stroke?
How to recognize and act upon the warning signs of a stroke
Most people think that a stroke simply appears out of the blue, with no prior warning. But is that always true?
Although you may not always be able to predict that someone is about to have a stroke, sometimes there are warning signs that may occur before a stroke happens. Being able to recognize these impending signs may make it more likely that you can prevent a stroke, or at least recognize when one is occurring right away. Acting FAST when symptoms occur is important because getting immediate medical attention can make a big difference in recovery.
Warning signs before a stroke occurs
Not everyone has symptoms before a stroke happens, but in some cases, you may notice these signs:
A transient ischemic attack, called a TIA or mini-stroke, occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is briefly interrupted. Symptoms resemble a stroke but usually stop quickly and don’t cause permanent damage. It is estimated that about one-third of people who have a TIA will have a more severe stroke in the future. If you have a TIA, don’t ignore it just because symptoms go away quickly. See a doctor because it is a sign that there is an underlying problem that may result in a stroke.
A severe or new type of headache
Not everyone gets a headache before a stroke, but if you have a severe headache or one that is different than the headaches you usually have, it may be a sign of an impending stroke. One study found that 15 percent of participants who had an ischemic stroke (a stroke caused by a blockage in a blood vessel in the brain) had an unusual headache that started within 7 days of the stroke and typically lasted until the stroke occurred. These headaches were more likely to occur in people who had atrial fibrillation. If you have an unusually severe headache that doesn’t go away, see a doctor.
Immediate warning signs of a stroke
Getting medical treatment as quickly as possible after a stroke occurs can make a big difference in recovery. The most effective treatments must be administered within 3 hours of when symptoms begin. That’s why it’s so important to be able to recognize the warning signs of a stroke.
These are the most common signs of stroke. Symptoms usually come on suddenly and can include:
- Numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs (especially on only one side)
- Trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
- Dizziness, balance problems or trouble walking
- Severe headache with no known cause
What to do if you suspect someone is having a stroke
If you think someone may be having a stroke, you need to act FAST.
F = Facial Drooping
Ask them to smile. You may notice one side of their face droops.
A = Arm Weakness
Ask them to raise both of their arms. You may notice one arm drifting downward.
S = Speech Difficulties
Ask them to repeat a simple sentence. You may notice their speech is slurred or doesn’t make sense.
T = Time
If you notice any of these signs of stroke in someone, call 911 immediately. There is no time to waste. By calling an ambulance rather than driving the person to the hospital, medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment right away. Also make a note of when symptoms first started because the timing of stroke onset may be very important in deciding what types of treatment are available.
Care options after a stroke
If you or someone you know had a stroke and is in need of care, Ethos Home Health Care and Hospice can help. Home health care can help individuals recover from the comfort of home with services such as skilled nursing, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, medication management, and more. Hospice care is available for those with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Hospice can help individuals live an enhanced quality of life, at the end of life, through services such as pain management, medication management, life-enriching services, family support, and more.
If you would like to learn more about Ethos Home Health Care and Hospice, we invite you to explore our website. For additional questions and information, you can reach out to our staff at (701) 515-0696 or fill out an online form.
Published on: September 15th, 2023 | By: Kaylee Yamry | Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD
Copyright 2023 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Health eCooks® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.
Date Last Reviewed: August 17, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD