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Symptoms, Conditions and Diagnosis

Know the symptoms of a stroke

A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when there is a sudden loss of circulation to an area of the brain. If not diagnosed and treated quickly, a stroke can cause you serious long-term disabilities such as trouble speaking or difficulty with comprehension, impaired vision, problems with balance and coordination, confusion and memory loss.

That’s why we say, “Time is brain.” The longer treatment is delayed after the onset of stroke symptoms, the greater the potential for brain damage. For the sake of you and your family, it is important to know the signs of stroke and to seek medical help immediately when you notice any of the warning signs of a stroke.

Stroke symptoms

  • Numbness or weakness on one side of your body
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

Ischemic strokes—blood clot in the brain

  • Account for more than 85% of all strokes
  • Blood vessel to the brain becomes narrowed or blocked, cutting off the brain’s oxygen supply
  • Stroke symptoms often begin gradually and worsen over time
  • Most likely to occur at night or first thing in the morning

Hemorrhagic strokes—bleeding in the brain

  • Occur when a blood vessel ruptures in the brain
  • Life-threatening event
  • Often begins suddenly with severe headache, nausea and vomiting
  • Tend to strike at a younger age

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)—mini-strokes

  • Same symptoms as a more serious stroke but only last a few minutes
  • Occur when a blood clot temporarily blocks an artery
  • Usually don’t cause lasting damage
  • But may signal that a more serious stroke is on the way

Diagnostic procedures for signs of a stroke may include:

  • Computed tomography scan (CT scan)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Biplane angiography
  • Computed tomographic angiography (CTA)
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

For emergency or urgent intra-hospital transfers, please call our 24-hour Stroke Hotline at 847.618.8888.

To get a physician referral for your neurological care, call HealthConnection at 847.618.4YOU (4968) or view our multidisciplinary team of stroke specialists.

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Last Updated 5/22/2009