Stroke, or cerebral infarction, is caused by an abrupt interruption of blood flow, when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures.when a vessel in the brain ruptures or becomes clogged.
It is a serious medical condition, which carries with it a number of sequelae of varying severity. The good news is that there are a number of warning signs that allow us to detect the approach of a stroke and act accordingly.
In this article we will learn about nine warning signs of stroke. If we observe one (or more than one) of them in a friend or relative (or in ourselves), we should go to the emergency room immediately. At the end of the article, we will also discuss the usual treatments applied in cases of stroke.
- Related article: “Cerebral ischemia: causes, symptoms and treatment”.
Stroke: what is it and types
The ictus, also known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA), embolism or thrombosis, consists of an interruption of the blood flow in some area of the brain..
Two things can happen: a blood vessel can rupture, or it can become clogged by a clot. If it ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke), cerebral hemorrhage occurs, and blood floods certain areas of the brain; on the other hand, if it becomes blocked (ischemic stroke), certain areas do not receive blood and therefore oxygen, which can lead to neuronal death in these areas.
This has diverse consequences and symptoms for the person, ranging from cognitive impairment to problems of mobility, sensitivity, language, etc. (it all depends on the affected area and other factors).
9 warning signs
There are, however some warning signs that may indicate that a stroke is approaching..
These warning signs or symptoms are manifested in the person who is about to suffer a stroke. Knowing them will be of vital importance and can help us, since, in the event of a stroke, we will be able to prevent further damage (by intervening in the symptoms early).
Let’s look at the 9 most important warning signs of stroke below.
One of the first warning signs of a stroke is speech difficulties.. Thus, the person finds it difficult to formulate meaningful sentences, or even to repeat a sentence that we propose. Thus, if we suspect that we are facing an alarm symptom, we can ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
If he/she is unable to do so, we must be alert and even go to the emergency room. Another characteristic that can manifest is that he/she does not understand what we are saying (comprehension difficulties).
2. Alterations in vision
Another warning sign of stroke is an alteration of vision. This can translate into: blurred vision, double vision, loss of vision (in both eyes or in one), etc. Although this symptom, like the others, may be the consequence of a disorder other than stroke (or sometimes of fatigue), we must be alert and take it seriously, going to the Emergency Room if necessary..
3. Sudden headache
Sudden headache is also a warning sign in the case of stroke.. This is produced because some area of the brain is not receiving its necessary oxygen supply. It is a headache of unusual intensity; moreover, there is apparently no cause for it.
On the other hand, sometimes this pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, paralysis of some area of the body, etc.
4. Memory lapses
We should also be alert if the person (or we ourselves) suddenly has a memory failure.. This memory failure is not the typical memory error that usually appears with age, but is usually accompanied by great mental confusion for the person.
5. Loss of sensitivity (“crooked smile”)
Another characteristic symptom at the approach of a stroke is loss of sensitivity in some areas of the body, especially in the faceespecially in the face (on one or both sides). This is, in fact, one of the most frequent alarm symptoms.
This loss of sensitivity in the face leads to an inability to smile (i.e. we cannot move the right or left side of the mouth). Thus, the person is left with a crooked mouth. In addition, the loss of sensation is accompanied by other symptoms, such as a tingling sensation in the face (or arm, leg…).
6. Muscle weakness
The approach of a stroke can also cause this other alarming symptom: a muscular weakness (or lack of strength), as well as sensitivity on one side of the body. This can be checked by asking the person to raise his/her arms; if he/she is unable to do so (or one of them falls “slumped”), we should be concerned.
Feeling dizzy may also be alerting us to the approach of a possible stroke.. This dizziness can also translate into a feeling of loss of balance or difficulty walking, and is due to a loss of strength on one side of the body (or both).
Another warning symptom, and also a very common one, is a numbness of the body (or a part of it).This is a sudden sensation of weakness in certain muscle groups, usually in the leg or arm. In addition, movement problems may also appear.
9. Alteration of other senses
In addition to vision, also can appear alterations in the rest of the senses: smell, tact, hearing… Thus, they appear, for example, in the eyes.… Thus, for example, strange sensations related to the senses appear.
What treatments are available for stroke? These will vary depending on its origin (hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke) and other factors. However, what is clear is that treatment should be started as soon as possible, as early as possible.
Sometimes surgery will be required to remove the blood clot and to reduce the intracranial pressure on the brain, which can lead to cerebral hemorrhage. If the stroke is ischemic (lack of oxygen), the patient must receive pharmacological treatment with anticoagulants for the rest of his or her life..
The latter treatment is of a preventive nature (it aims to avoid the appearance of new strokes), and is also applied to patients with a high risk of suffering cerebrovascular and/or cardiovascular problems.
On the other hand, the treatment to intervene in the sequelae caused by the stroke will be of a rehabilitative nature; that is to say, it will consist of rehabilitative treatment to improve the lost or damaged functions. This treatment, depending on the sequelae, will be focused on improving the patient’s mobility (physiotherapy), as well as his or her language (speech therapy) and other cognitive functions such as memory, attention, etc. (neuropsychological rehabilitation).