Stroke signs: Nine symptoms you should never ignore to avoid fatal consequences
Stroke symptoms often begin suddenly and it depends on the part of the brain affected and the extent of the damage.
The main symptoms can be remembered with the acronym F.A.S.T., according to the NHS. It advises to look out for the following:
F for face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
A for arms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to life both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
S for speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake.
T is for time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
But sometimes a stroke can cause other signs and symptoms, the health body goes on to list nine.
These can include: complete paralysis of one side of the body, sudden loss or blurring of vision, dizziness, confusion, difficulty understanding what others are saying, problems with balance and co-ordination, difficulty swallowing, a sudden and very severe headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before, and loss of consciousness.
But you should also be aware there may be other causes for these symptoms.
The best way to help prevent a stroke is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
For those looking to overhaul their unhealthy eating habits, Stroke Association has five tips.
1. Fruit and vegetables should make up a third of your daily diet. Eat at least five portions a day.
2. Starchy foods should make up another third of your daily diet. Go for more wholegrain in foods like brown rice and wholegrain bread and breakfast cereals.
3. Aim to eat some protein every day. Healthy sources of protein can be found in fish, pulses, nuts an seeds, lean meat and meat alternatives like tofu and textured and vegetable protein.
4. Cut down on full-fat milk, cream and cheese, fatty meat, processed meats, and solid fats like butter and margarine.
5. Limit salt to a teaspoon day (or 6g). This includes hidden salt in ready-made and processed foods.
There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year, or around one every five minutes.
Around 40,000 people die each year from a stroke, making it the UK’s fourth biggest killer.
It’s crucial that the signs of a stroke are caught quickly, as early treatment can mean the difference between recovery, disability or death.
Heavy drinkers are more likely to have strokes, but studies have shown that drinking a little alcohol can actually decrease your risk.
“Studies show that if you have about one drink per day, your risk may be lower,” said Dr Natalia Rost, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.