What Are the Symptoms of an Oncoming Stroke?


A cerebral vascular accident, more commonly known as a stroke, happens when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted due to a hemorrhage or clot, robbing it of oxygen and other critical nutrients. When that happens, time is of the essence. The faster medical treatment is provided, the greater the chance that permanent brain damage can be minimized. This is why it’s crucial for people to be aware of the symptoms stroke damage can create so that they can take action immediately. This is especially true for family members of high-risk people or employees of assisted living communities such as the Mission at Agua Fria.

What Causes a Stroke?

Whenever the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, we call that a stroke. The actual causes of this condition, however, can be quite numerous. The most common cause of strokes is actually high blood pressure. This is a common medical condition for many Americans and is quite insidious because it often has no symptoms when it’s present. High cholesterol can also contribute to a person’s stroke risk, as can heart disease, diabetes, and other similar conditions. If you have had a stroke previously, your chances of having a second, and more debilitating one, are increased.

How To Spot the Signs

Because it affects the brain, the symptoms of stroke attacks are numerous but somewhat predictable. Sudden weakness on one side of the body is often the first telltale sign. Difficulty with speech—slurred words and confusion—is often the second. A stroke may also bring with it a severe headache or the onset of severe dizziness.

Usually, these symptoms will remain until medical treatment can be provided. However, on occasion, they may actually go away after a few minutes. If this occurs, it does not mean that what has happened is not a stroke, and it also does not mean that immediate medical treatment is not needed. The patient could be experiencing a transient ischemic attack, or TIA.

If You See the Symptoms—Act F.A.S.T.

The American Stroke Association recommends using the acronym “F.A.S.T.” to help you figure out if a person has suffered a stroke so that you can determine what to do next.

  • F. Is their Face drooping? If you think a person is experiencing a stroke, ask them to smile and take note if they can’t seem to do it on one side of their face. This is a telltale sign.
  • A. Are they experiencing Arm weakness? Ask them to lift their arms. In the case of a stroke, they’ll often only be able to lift one.
  • S. Is their Speech slurred? Ask them to speak with you. If they sound garbled or confused, this can be another telltale sign of a stroke.
  • T. Then it’s Time to call 9-1-1. If you notice one or more of these signs, call emergency services immediately. The more information you can provide the emergency medical technicians with, the better help they will be able to provide, so note the time of the onset of symptoms, stroke signs, and anything else you find pertinent.