Updated 11 June 2015

Symptoms of a stroke

It is incredibly important to be able to identify the symptoms of a stroke to ensure that the victim receives medical attention as soon as possible.


In some cases almost the only recognisable sign of an oncoming stroke is a transient ischaemic attack (TIA).
Symptoms may develop suddenly or progress over time. Typically, bleeds into the brain may cause a very severe deficit, with immediate decrease in level of consciousness.
Ischaemic strokes (infarctions) tend to be less severe, but there is considerable overlap in the nature of the neurological deficit between.
Remember to consult a doctor if you are experiencing any typical stroke symptoms, such as the following:
- Sudden numbness and tingling of the face or limbs
- Weakness or paralysis of one side of the body (face, arm and leg)
- Drooling as a result of weakened facial muscles
- Sudden changes in vision, such as double vision, dimness, blurring or blindness in one or both eyes
- Difficulty with walking or standing, or inability to do either
- Difficulty with speaking or with speech comprehension, or inability to speak or understand speech
- Loss of balance, clumsiness
- Confusion and personality changes, problems with judgement
- Difficulty with performing everyday tasks, such as eating and getting dressed
- Sudden nausea or vomiting
- A severe headache with any of the above symptoms, quickly followed by loss of consciousness with weakness of one side of the body
- A sudden, severe headache and stiff neck occurring out of the blue, often followed by change in consciousness or unconsciousness

(Reviewed by Dr J. Carr, FCP(SA) Neurology, MSc(Med))

Read more:
Causes of a stroke
Diagnosing a stroke
Treating a stroke


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