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Do You Know You're Having a Stroke?
Date:11/25/2008

clearly indicate that better public understanding of stroke symptoms will lead to a faster response and better outcomes.

What you should know

Strokes can happen quickly or can occur over several hours, with the condition continually worsening. The thrombus or clot that is causing the stroke can frequently be dissolved or disintegrated so blood can again flow to the brain. In such cases, immediate treatment can mean the difference between a slight injury and a major disability. Interestingly only 20.8 percent of the participants knew about such treatment. By use of stents, medications and other technology, physicians can stop a stroke from spreading and greatly limit damage. Stroke symptoms include:

* Sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis of your face, arm or leg -- usually on one side of the body

* Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech (aphasia)

* Sudden blurred, double or decreased vision

* Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination

* A sudden, severe "bolt out of the blue" headache or an unusual headache, which may be accompanied by a stiff neck, facial pain, pain between your eyes, vomiting or altered consciousness

* Confusion or problems with memory, spatial orientation or perception

In such cases, a stroke gives no warning. But one possible sign of an impending stroke is a TIA. The signs and symptoms of TIA are the same as for a stroke, but they last for a shorter period -- several minutes to a few hours -- and then disappear, without leaving apparent permanent effects. You may have more than one TIA, and the signs and symptoms may be similar or different. A TIA indicates a serious risk that a full-blown stroke may follow.

Other Mayo researchers involved in the study were Lekshmi Vaidyanathan, M.B.B.S.; Maria Bellolio, M.D.; Rahul Kashyap, M.B.B.S.; Anjali Bhagra, M.B.B.S.; Rachel Gilmor
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SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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