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When the blood flow to the brain is blocked or decreased, the brain cells in the area of lessened blood flow may die. Fortunately, treatment exists that, when received within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, can significantly decrease the damage. It’s especially important, then, to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Note, however, that not all symptoms must be present to indicate a stroke. If you have any concerns, please contact a medical professional immediately.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
There is a fairly common misconception that if you smell something that is not there (such as burnt toast) it is a sign of a stroke. This is not true 1. However, because a stroke can occur in any region of the brain, the sense of smell can be affected. Rather than smelling something that isn’t there, though, it’s more likely that the ability to smell anything will be hindered or that your response to smells is altered.
- There is a fairly common misconception that if you smell something that is not there (such as burnt toast) it is a sign of a stroke.
- Rather than smelling something that isn’t there, though, it’s more likely that the ability to smell anything will be hindered or that your response to smells is altered.
Signs of a Stroke While Sleeping
When a stroke occurs it often affects motor control, and one of the most obvious signs of a stroke is the sudden onset of difficulty in walking.
Motor control in your mouth can be hindered as well and you may experience difficulty speaking. Speaking may also be difficult if the area of your brain responsible for complex thought is affected.
Signs of a Mild Stroke
The sudden onset of dizziness may also indicate a stroke.
Many stroke victims experience paralysis or numbness on one side of the body. Friends or family may notice a slight drooping and loss of muscle tone on one side.
If your ability to see is suddenly impaired--in other words, if your vision was fine and then, all of the sudden, it isn't--this may indicate a stroke.
Although headaches can occur for a number of reasons, a very sudden headache that is accompanied by other symptoms including facial pain or cognitive problems can be a sign of a stroke.
Signs of a Stroke While Sleeping
Signs of a Mild Stroke
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Frontal Lobe Stroke Symptoms
The Medical Conditions That Cause Weakness on the Left Side of the Body
Anxiety Symptoms That Feel Like a Stroke
Frontal Lobe Brain Tumor Symptoms
The Effects of a Right Hemisphere Stroke
Cortical Stroke Symptoms
- The Mayo Clinic
- The American Heart Association
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stroke Signs and Symptoms. Updated March 27, 2018.
- Wei CC, Huang SW, Hsu SL, Chen HC, Chen JS, Liang H. Analysis of using the tongue deviation angle as a warning sign of a stroke. Biomed Eng Online. 2012;11:53. doi:10.1186/1475-925X-11-53
- National Institute on Aging. Stroke. Updated May 16, 2017.
- Eissa A, Krass I, Levi C, Sturm J, Ibrahim R, Bajorek B. Understanding the reasons behind the low utilisation of thrombolysis in stroke. Australas Med J. 2013;6(3):152-67. doi:10.4066/AMJ.2013.1607
- Goodwin D. Homonymous hemianopia: challenges and solutions. Clin Ophthalmol. 2014;8:1919-27. doi:10.2147/OPTH.S59452
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Aphasia. Updated March 6, 2017.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Stroke Information Page. Updated March 27, 2019.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Stroke. Updated August 14, 2018.
- Yanagawa Y, Yoshihara T, Kato H, Iba T, Tanaka H. Significance of urinary incontinence, age, and consciousness level on arrival among patients with stroke. J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2013;6(2):83-6. doi:10.4103/0974-2700.110750
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Stroke: Hope Through Research. Updated August 13, 2019.
- Rowe FJ. Vision In Stroke cohort: Profile overview of visual impairment. Brain Behav. 2017;7(11):e00771. doi:10.1002/brb3.771
- Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Wallenberg syndrome. 2017.
- Konczak J, Pierscianek D, Hirsiger S, et al. Recovery of upper limb function after cerebellar stroke: lesion symptom mapping and arm kinematics. Stroke. 2010;41(10):2191-200. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.583641
- Al-Qazzaz NK, Ali SH, Ahmad SA, Islam S, Mohamad K. Cognitive impairment and memory dysfunction after a stroke diagnosis: a post-stroke memory assessment. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2014;10:1677-91. doi:10.2147/NDT.S67184
- American Stroke Association. About Stroke.
- Kernan WN, Ovbiagele B, Black HR, et al. Guidelines for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke and transient ischemic attack: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2014;45(7):2160-236. doi:10.1161/STR.0000000000000024
- National Institutes of Health. NIH Stroke Scale International.