Successful stroke treatment can depend on immediate medical care, so it’s important for caregivers to be aware of warning signs and symptoms.
Although almost three-fourths of all strokes occur in people age 65 or older, a person of any age can have a stroke. It’s important to be aware of the signs of strokes and transient ischemic attacks—especially if your loved one has previously suffered either of these ailments. Symptoms can strike without warning, and they often seem fleeting, subtle, or painless. If your loved one has any of the following symptoms he or she must have immediate medical attention. Call 911 right away, and then call your doctor.
Note: These signs can disappear after a few seconds or a day. The importance of obtaining immediate medical care when the symptoms appear can’t be emphasized enough. The longer you wait, the greater chance of brain damage.
- Weakness or paralysis in an arm, a leg, or the face, often affecting only one side of the body.
- Sudden blurred, decreased, or lost vision, often in one eye. It can be fleeting.
- Loss of balance and dizziness.
- Problems speaking or comprehending what someone else is saying.
- Severe headache with no apparent cause.
- Problems swallowing.
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Adapted from Recovering After a Stroke, AHCPR Publication No. 95-0664, prepared by the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research.