Insufficient blood supply to the brain results in the inability of the brain to function normally. Symptoms will be more or less serious depending on the size of the brain damage and the location or part of the brain affected.
Symptoms of stroke include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face and/or limbs, especially on one side of the body
- Slurred speech, crooked smile or drooping mouth corner, drooling and difficulty swallowing
- Headache, sudden dizziness
- Blurred vision, double or blackened vision, or sudden loss of vision on one side of the visual field
- Trouble with walking, loss of balance or coordination
The onset of these symptoms always occurs suddenly.
Some patients may experience transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), also known as mini-strokes, which may occur a few times before an actual stroke. Signs and symptoms appear temporarily, disappearing within 24 hours.
TIAs are a warning sign that a full-blown stroke can occur within one week, especially within the first 24 hours after the initial TIA. These warnings occur in only about 10% of cases; the other 90% have no warning.
If any of these abnormal symptoms occur, it is vital that patients seek immediate medical attention. As a stroke can be severe and potentially life-threatening, the outcome depends on how soon treatment starts.