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Harvard Commentaries
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Harvard Commentaries
Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School


Warning Signs Of A Stroke


June 02, 2014

Stroke
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Stroke Warning Signs
Warning Signs Of A Stroke
Warning Signs Of A Stroke
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Many stroke symptoms can be confused with other illnesses. Learn the warning signs of a stroke.
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InteliHealth
2011-02-22
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InteliHealth Medical Content
2014-02-22

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

The Warning Signs Of A Stroke

Stroke is a medical emergency, and the warning signs usually occur suddenly. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Sudden and severe headache
  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Loss of vision or having a visual disturbance, especially if it occurs in only one eye
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Slurred speech or difficulty communicating (including difficulty understanding or having trouble finding the right words)

The appearance of one or more of these symptoms might be a warning sign that a stroke is in progress.

In some cases, strokes are preceded by one or more "mini-strokes," called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). TIAs are brief episodes of stroke-like symptoms that usually last five to 20 minutes. If you have stroke-like symptoms that disappear without treatment, you still need to see a doctor right away. A TIA shows that you are at risk for a stroke soon, so your doctor needs to evaluate the condition of your heart and arteries and talk to you about how you can reduce your immediate stroke risk.

 

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