Have you ever noticed someone get sudden difficulties in speaking or numbness in the face? Do you ever get a never-ending headache or sudden dizziness? Well, we are afraid it might be early signs of stroke! However, these are not the only signs; you may get any other unusual stroke symptoms too. So, before this grave disease hits you or your loved ones, let us check out every detail about it. Here we will highlight everything you need to know about pre stroke symptoms, causes, and much more. Start scrolling down to know everything you possibly need to know about a stroke!
Table of Contents
What is a stroke?
Before we get into the details of several signs of a stroke, let us see what a stroke is and the damages it causes to your body.
A stroke or brain attack happens when the blood vessels inside the brain break and bleeds. It can also happen when the blood supply to the brain has a blockage.
The blockage and the break stop oxygen and blood from reaching the tissues of the brain. Brain cells of the part where blood and oxygen are not reaching begin to die, affecting the whole body.
Acting fast helps a lot and makes a huge difference when someone is having a stroke. Getting help within one hour will prevent the patient from disability and even death.
According to the guideline by few medical associations, people who get treated with a drug that can dissolve the blood clot within 4 hours of the symptom can recover without having any significant disability. Sometimes, surgeries are required to treat stroke.
Pre stroke symptoms
You will find that the signs of a stroke show in an area of the body controlled by an injured part of the brain.
The sooner it gets treated, the better will be the outcome for that person. Here are few symptoms of stroke so that you can help the person quickly.
Early stroke symptoms
Here we have got you in detail what happens when you get hit by a stroke:
The person will feel weakness and numbness in their leg, face, or arm. When it happens only on one side, that is either weakness in the left arm and left leg.
The person might have some issues with their visions. It can either happen in one eye or both eyes.
The vision can be blurred, blackened, or have double vision.
The person might have extreme headaches suddenly without any cause.
It might lead to loss of balance, shakiness, trouble while walking, and cannot coordinate things.
The person might even have trouble while speaking, slurred words, and cannot understand speech.
It might lead to paralysis and confusion.
Now, we will discuss some pre-stroke indications in women and men. Both show the same signs, but some signs are generally common for women and men.
Pre stroke symptoms in women
Here are some signs which will help you identify it:
Women have more lifetime risk of stroke than men. According to data, in the United States, one of the leading causes (1/4) of death in women is stroke.
Women are also more likely to die than men from a stroke, so identifying it is essential.
Some signs which are seen more in women:
You might notice a sudden behavioral change. It primarily means getting angry and agitated.
Women may also face vomiting, nausea, pain, and general dizziness. Also, women may have hallucinations, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
Some other symptoms in women can be trouble while breathing and shortness of breath.
More symptoms include less responsiveness, disorientation, and confusion while assessing the surrounding.
Pre stroke symptoms in men
Men might have a stroke at their young age than women. However, it might not be fatal.
In the United States, it is seen that one-fifth of men die because of a stroke.
Some signs which are seen more in men:
It is seen that men get weakness and numbness of muscles, particularly on one side of the body.
Having difficulty while speaking, slurring while speaking, and cannot understand other’s talking. They might have an uneven smile or droop on one side of the face.
What does ‘act FAST’ means?
Pre stroke symptoms appear differently in various people. More so, they come up abruptly, without showing any warning.
Health associations suggested using the term ‘FAST,’ which will help people to identify the common stroke signs.
F for face
If someone has an uneven smile or droop on their face, that is a warning sign.
A for arms
Numbness or slight pain on the arm are other pre stroke symptoms. If you are not sure, you can ask the individual to raise the hand, and if it is not steady, it is a sign.
S for difficult to speak
Slurred or unclear speech is an indication that a person might be having a stroke. To be more precise, ask the individual to repeat the same sentence.
T for time
If you see someone has these pre stroke symptoms, then it is time to take action fast.
Causes of Stroke
Three types of main strokes are hemorrhagic stroke, ischemic stroke, and transient ischemic attack, and the cause depends on the type of stroke. Here are the following:
Transient Ischemic Attack
Temporary blockage in the artery which affects the brain is a cause of transient ischemic attack (TIA). A blockage is a blood clot, making the blood stops flowing in some areas of the brain.
It can last from few minutes to few hours, later blockage stops, and blood flow is restored.
Ischemic stroke is the same as TIA, where a blockage in the artery affects the brain. However, the blockage might be a blood clot; otherwise, it might cause by atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis means on the walls of the blood vessel, and a fatty substance will build up. The fatty substance can separate and will lodge in the artery, which will block the blood flow and cause an ischemic stroke.
The hemorrhagic stroke is triggered by a rupture or leaking of the blood vessel—the blood leaks inside and around the brain tissues, which causes pressure and damage the brain cells.
A hemorrhagic stroke happens due to two reasons. Aneurysm, which means a section of the blood vessel is weakened, which is caused due to high blood pressure and might rupture the blood vessels.
Another reason is an arteriovenous malformation, which means an irregular link between the arteries and the veins. All of which might cause bleeding of the brain.
What are the risk factors for a stroke?
Some risk factors make a person more prone to stroke. The more risk factors you have, the more you might have a stroke in the future.
Here are some of the factors:
Having an unhealthy diet, which does not have proper nutrition might make a person more vulnerable to stroke. A diet that includes many saturated fats, cholesterol, trans fat, and salt might have a personal risk of stroke.
Lack of workout or exercise can be a reason for stroke. Regular exercise has a lot of health benefits.
According to research, an adult should do a minimum of 2.5 hours of exercise per week. People should do simple brisk walking or jogging a few times a week.
Excess Consumption of Alcohol
You are more prone to stroke if you drink too much alcohol. If you do, try to consume it in moderation. On average, women should be one 30 ml drink, and it should be two for men.
More than this might cause high blood pressure and raise triglyceride levels, which can lead to atherosclerosis.
Smoking and Tobacco use
Tobacco damages the heart and the blood vessels and makes the person more at risk of stroke.
All of this will increase more if someone smokes because the blood pressure increases when using nicotine.
Family history plays an important role. Some families tend high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke.
Gender plays a vital role as women are more likely prone to stroke than men, which happens in all age groups.
The older a person is, the more likely they are at risk of getting a stroke.
Race and ethnicity also play a significant role. Africans, West Indies, and Alaska Natives are more likely to at risk of having a stroke than Asians, Hispanics, and Caucasians.
Some health conditions might make the person more prone to stroke.
Conditions like high blood pressure, sickle cell disease, heart valve defects, high level of cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, previous stroke, high blood sugar levels, and coronary eatery diseases makes a person more at risk of stroke.
Analysis of a stroke by doctors
Doctors will take the patient’s medical history and ask what medicines the patient consumes, which will check the heart and blood pressure.
Patients will also do a physical exam where the doctor will check the vision, any indications of confusion, balance, pain, numbness in the face, arm, and leg, and coordination.
Several tests are done on the patient, which will help the doctors determine its cause if the brain is bleeding, which side of the brain is affected.
What kind of Tests?
Few kinds of tests will diagnose the stroke. These tests are:
A blood test can determine many things such as the platelet count, blood sugar levels, how fast the blood is clotting, and if the patient has any other infection.
MRI and CT scan
The doctor might tell you to do both computerized tomographies -(CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
MRI helps to see if there are any damaged brain cells or brain tissues.
CT scan gives a detailed picture of the brain and will show if there is any damage or bleeding inside the brain. This test also shows if someone has other brain conditions which might lead to the symptoms.
This test records the heart activities, such as how fast the heartbeats and the heart rhythm.
It can also determine any previous heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation or heart attack leading to stroke.
This test gives a detailed look at the arteries in the brain and neck. A cerebral angiogram helps to shoe any clot or blockage that might have been the cause of stroke.
Carotid Ultrasound or Carotid Duplex Scan
This helps to identify the fatty substance in the carotid arteries that helps to supply blood to the brain, face, and neck.
The test will also show if the carotid arteries are blocked or if the passage is narrow.
This test helps find the sources of the clot in the heart, which might have traveled to the brain that caused the stroke.
Types of Stroke
Treatment of the stroke depends on the type of stroke a patient might be having. Here are two types of strokes:
Ischemic stroke and TIA
They are both caused due to blood clots or blockage inside the brain. So, the treatment is similar too, which are: clot-breaking drugs, antiplatelet and anticoagulants, stents, mechanical thrombectomy, and surgery.
This happens when there is a leak in the brain. So, the treatment is different.
To treat this stroke, doctors will do coiling, surgery, medications, and clamping.
Medications for Stroke
The type of medication depends on the type of stroke the patient has. The goal is to prevent a stroke from happening for the second time mainly, but some do it to stop the stroke from happening for the first time.
Common stroke medications contain blood pressure drugs, tissue plasminogen activator, antiplatelet drugs, anticoagulants, and statins.
The doctor might prescribe one or multiple medicines depending on the patient’s health history.
Recovering from the Stroke
Stroke causes significant long-term disability. However, only 10 percent in the United States have made a complete recovery, and 25 percent recover with some minor damages.
Four areas are the main factor of stroke recovery:
After a stroke, the person might have a problem while they are talking. A speech therapist should work with the patient so they can communicate easily.
Sometimes a patient might not move their muscle or one of their body parts. A physical therapist helps the patient to regain their balance and strength.
Relearning sensory skills
During the stroke, if the brain that sends signals is damaged, then the patient will find their senses no longer working.
This means the patient won’t feel pain, pressure, and temperature. A therapist will recover from the lack of senses.
Due to a stroke, the thinking skill of a person changes. This causes mood changes and agitated behavior.
A therapist will help the patient recover from it and tell them how to control their emotions.
If you think you or someone you know is showing pre stroke symptoms, it is essential to act immediately and go to a doctor.
Early treatments in the best way to prevent a stroke. All of which will lessen the risk of long-term disability. Prevention of stroke is also possible, whether it is for the first time or second.
Medicines help to lessen the risk of the blockage and blood clot both leads to stroke. Talk to the doctor and see what medicines and lifestyle changes you need to make to have a lesser risk of getting a stroke.