Strokes occur when there is blockage of blood vessels or narrowing of blood vessels which leads to a lack of oxygen. The blockage of blood vessels can lead to mini-strokes also called Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA). Transient ischemic strokes might last from a few hours to minutes. According to Peter Rothwell, professor at the University of Oxford, it was seen that almost half of the most recent TIAs and about a third of the first TIAs occurred in the two weeks before the presenting stroke. These strokes must be considered as a warning sign and it is important to consult a doctor before it’s too late.
Some of the warning signs that might be seen are:
- Face drooping: One side of the face droops and there might also be numbness on that one side of the face.
- Limbs weakness: Weakness or numbness on one side of the arms or legs is experienced.
- Difficulty speaking: Inability to speak properly or slurring during speech is seen. It will be difficult to understand the speech of these people.
- Difficulty in vision: The person will have difficulty seeing in either one or both of the eyes. Involuntary eye movements or losing vision in either left or right side of the visual field might be seen.
- Difficulty in maintaining balance/coordination (gait disturbances): The person may experience difficulty in standing/walking/balancing oneself.
- Dizziness: Reduced blood supply to the brain can lead to dizziness.
- Headaches: Sudden headaches which may be severe without any cause.
- Stiffness in muscles: Also called as hypertonia, there can be muscle paralysis experienced due to which the person might lose the ability to balance oneself.
- Behavioural changes: The person may experience feelings of irritability, forgetfulness, anger and confusion. Memory loss is common.
- Dysphagia: Difficulty in swallowing food might be experienced leading to increased risk of malnutrition, dehydration and reduced immunity due to poor nutrition.
If the above signs are seen, it is important to consult a doctor immediately.