Symptoms of a Massive Stroke

Know the symptoms of a massive stroke, and know what to do if they happen to you or someone else. A massive stroke can cause death or paralysis, yet if prompt medical attention is received, the effects may be prevented or minimized.

A massive stroke is often preceded by a mini-stroke, called TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack), which should always be taken as a warning sign and an emergency. The symptoms of each are similar; TIAs are short in duration and resolve themselves in a few minutes to 24 hours. A massive stroke will not resolve itself without immediate medical attention. There are additional signs of a stroke in women, which are also important to know. 

Physical Symptoms
Sudden weakness on one side of the body or the face, including numbness, is the most common physical sign of a massive stroke. In addition, the person may have trouble walking, a loss of balance, dizziness, fainting and the loss of vision in one or both eyes. Sudden, severe headache pain is also a possible sign of a stroke, particularly if it accompanies any other symptoms.

Mental Symptoms
Confusion, difficulty communicating, trouble understanding words or speaking and slurred speech are some of the symptoms which show that brain function has been impaired. Since a stroke happens in the brain, the brain cannot process things as it normally does. 

What to Do
Any one of the symptoms of a stroke are cause for immediate medical treatment. Don't wait for multiple symptoms to appear or dismiss symptoms as something else. The location of the stroke in the brain determines which symptoms will appear, but there's no such thing as a stroke that is less serious.

Call for medical help immediately if you or someone else exhibits these symptoms. If anti-clotting medication is given within three hours of the onset of a stroke, it can mean the difference between life and death or prevent a serious disability. Even if the victim claims to feel alright, get to a hospital. The only way to rule out a stroke is with a CAT or MRI scan.

The Prognosis
With immediate medical attention, the cause of the stroke can be assessed. Treatment may involve drugs that dissolve clots or surgery to relieve pressure and repair damaged blood vessels. The faster the treatment is given, the more likely the effects of the stroke can be minimized. This can mean the difference between a quick recovery or the permanent loss of physical and mental functions.

Always take stroke symptoms seriously, even if they resolve themselves. A TIA is often a warning sign that a massive stroke is imminent, so any stroke symptoms need prompt medical attention.

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