Additional Risk Factors
Women who take birth control pills, are over age 35 and smoke are at a greater risk of ischemic stroke. Heavy drinking, hemophilia or head injury may increase risk of having a hemorrhagic stroke.
Symptoms of a Stroke
The symptoms vary depending on whether the stroke is caused by a clot or bleeding. The location and the extent of brain damage can also affect symptoms.
- Sudden numbness, paralysis, or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
- New problems with walking or balance.
- Sudden vision changes including blurred or double vision.
- Drooling or slurred speech.
- Sudden problems speaking or understanding simple statements, or feeling confused.
- A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches – sometimes described as the worst headache ever.
Symptoms of an ischemic stroke usually occur in the side of the body opposite from the side of the brain where the clot occurred. For example, a stroke in the right side of the brain affects the left side of the body. Symptoms of a hemorrhagic stroke may also include nausea and vomiting, neck stiffness, dizziness, seizures, irritability, confusion and, possibly, unconsciousness.
Symptoms of a stroke may progress over minutes, hours, or days, often in a “stepwise fashion”. For example, a mild weakness may progress to an inability to move the limbs on one side of the body.
When it comes to strokes every second can make the difference between a mild event and a disabling event. Because a stroke stops the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, that flow must be resumed as quickly as possible to avoid severe brain damage.
There are drugs that can be used in nearly 80% of strokes (Ischemic – caused by a clot) that work very quickly and, if given within a few hours of the onset, can greatly reduce the potential long term damage from a stroke.