Stroke Warning Signs | UnityPoint Health Fort Dodge

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Stroke Symptoms & Risk Factors

Did you know 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by developing healthy lifestyle habits to reduce stroke risk factors early on in life? Read on to learn important information on stroke symptoms and risk factors.

Stroke Risk Factors 

High blood pressure is the No. 1 reason that you might have a stroke. The risk of stroke is also increased by age, family history of stroke, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Certain medications increase the chances of clot formation, and therefore your chances for a stroke. Birth control pills can cause blood clots, especially in women who smoke and who are older than 35.

Men have more strokes than women. But, women have a risk of stroke during pregnancy and the weeks immediately after pregnancy.

Cocaine use, alcohol abuse, head injury, and bleeding disorders increase the risk of bleeding into the brain.

Stroke Symptoms

Stroke symptoms depend on what part of the brain is damaged. In some cases, a person may not even be aware that he or she has had a stroke. Usually, a SUDDEN development of one or more of the following indicates a stroke:

  • Weakness or paralysis of an arm, leg, side of the face, or any part of the body
  • Numbness, tingling, decreased sensation
  • Vision changes
  • Slurred speech, inability to speak or understand speech, difficulty reading or writing
  • Swallowing difficulties or drooling
  • Loss of memory
  • Vertigo (spinning sensation)
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Personality changes
  • Mood changes (depression, apathy)
  • Drowsiness, lethargy, or loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrollable eye movements or eyelid drooping 

If one or more of these stroke symptoms are present and go away quickly, it may be a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA is a temporary loss of brain function and a warning sign for a possible future stroke. 

If you or someone around you is experiencing the symptoms of stroke, do not wait. Call 9-1-1 immediately and ask to be taken to Trinity's Emergency Department for life-saving stroke treatment.