Although the symptoms of a stroke aren’t something many of us talk about, it’s surprising to know that a stroke happens about every 40 seconds in America. In fact, around 795,000 Americans suffer from a stroke each year.
If you know the warning signs and can catch a stroke early on, it’s possible to prevent serious or permanent damage. For example, if you get quick enough treatment, you may temporarily lose the ability to speak, or have partial or complete weakness in a limb, but you’ll recover in time.
Sometimes the symptoms of strokes develop gradually. Usually, it will begin with one or more of these sudden warning signs:
– Numbness or weakness in your face, arms, or legs, especially on one side
– Confusion or difficulty understanding others
– Trouble speaking or seeing with one or both eyes
– Unbalanced, dizzy or uncoordinated
– Severe headache that appears from nowhere
If you sense a stroke coming on, don’t ignore the warning signs no matter how mild they may seem. A less severe stroke may be difficult to recognize, as the woman in the video below can testify, so don’t rule anything out.
Here’s what to do if you have one or more symptoms for more than a couple of minutes:
- Call 911 or emergency medical services (EMS) immediately.
- Check the time when symptoms begin. The hospital will need this information.
Some people could deny the problem and may not want to rush seeking treatment. Remember, every minute counts. The sooner the treatment, the less chance of serious damage to the brain. And this means less chance of a permanent disability.
Here’s a video of a woman from Toronto filming herself having a stroke as she describes the experience. She used the clip to convince doctors that evaluated symptoms were not stress related, and therefore was able to get the right treatment.