A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is suddenly cut off. The brain cells get deprived of oxygen and begin to die quickly. Having a stroke is a scary thought, but you can be mindful of your health to reduce the chances of having one.
Stroke signs often occur hours — or even days — before the actual attack. Read on to learn about the symptoms that could signal you’re about to have a stroke.
Maybe you ate too fast and hiccups ensure — that’s not so scary. But a sudden onset of relentless, painful hiccups can indicate a stroke on the way, according to Ohio State University’s Director of Neuroscience Diana Greene-Chandos, M.D.
Experts associate hiccuping with a specific stroke that occurs in the back of the brain (instead of the top), which is more common in women. But no matter your gender, take severe hiccups seriously, especially if they’re associated with other stroke symptoms.
2. Severe headache
When a headache — a less common sign — does signal a stroke, it’s usually a “thunderclap” headache. These come on suddenly and will likely be the most painful headache you’ve ever had.
Thunderclap headaches are also a common sign of a brain aneurysm, so seek medical attention immediately if you experience one. If your headache accompanies any of the “BE FAST” signs, which we’ll outline on page 4, it could be a stroke.
Many people recognize slurring your words as a stroke sign. But losing your place in a conversation or forgetting what the other person just said can also signal the disease.
People often mistake confusion for nothing more than a “senior moment,” which is why it often doesn’t cause alarm. However, if you experience confusion along with any other stroke symptoms, seek medical attention.
4. Face drooping
A telltale sign that something is wrong, a sudden droopy face can be scary to witness. If you experience droopiness in your face or numbness on one side, you should seek medical attention asap. An uneven smile is most easily recognized of all the facial symptoms.
5. Arm weakness
Weakness in one arm — specifically, the inability to raise both arms at once — is especially common among those who suffer from a stroke. Victims often experience temporary paralysis on one side of the body. It’s important to seek help as soon as possible; if enough brain cells die, you could suffer permanent paralysis.
6. Speech difficulty
Difficulty forming sentences is another sign something is affecting your brain. Cognitive skills like holding a conversation can suddenly become difficult when you’re about to suffer from a stroke. Slurred speech often occurs right before a stroke, too.