Spot These 10 Warning Signs Of A Stroke One Week Before

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Warning Signs of a Stroke One Week Before

Strokes are a serious health concern, with someone in the U.S. experiencing one every 40 seconds, and every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke. While your risk of having a stroke nearly doubles every 10 years after age 55, strokes can occur at any age. Researchers have even found that strokes are on the rise in younger people under 49.

Spot these 10 Warning Signs of a Stroke One Week Before

Regardless of your age, it’s important to be aware of the early signs of a stroke, which can include sudden dizziness, a severe headache, or drooping face. These symptoms often occur quickly, but can develop over several hours or even days. Knowing the signs of a stroke and acting fast is crucial, as this potentially deadly condition requires immediate medical attention.

Today, we’ll explore what happens during a stroke, the 10 warning signs to watch for, the crucial steps to take if these signs appear, and important prevention strategies. We’ll also reveal the number ONE risk factor for stroke, so make sure you watch this video until the end.

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A stroke happens when the blood flow to part of the brain is blocked; it’s like a heart attack, but for the brain. This can happen either because a blood clot blocks a blood vessel (ischemic stroke), or because a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke).

Studies show that approximately 87% of strokes are ischemic strokes, while the remaining 13% are hemorrhagic strokes. Brain cells start to die if they go without oxygen and nutrients for just 3 to 4 minutes – and that’s exactly what happens during a stroke.

This brain damage continues to accumulate rapidly with each passing minute, at a rate of about 1.9 million brain cells lost per minute. After about 10 minutes without oxygen, the damage becomes severe and potentially irreversible. Without immediate medical attention, a stroke can cause permanent brain damage, disability, or even death.

Strokes often seem to occur without warning, but in some cases, your body may provide early signals. So, what are the signs to recognize, so you can seek medical help and hopefully prevent a full-blown stroke?

One potential warning sign is an unexplained headache.

A 2020 study of 550 adults found that a “sentinel headache” – a severe or unusual headache occurring within 7 days before a stroke – was experienced by 15% of participants who went on to have an ischemic stroke. These headaches often lasted until the stroke symptoms began.

Interestingly, the study also noted that those who had a sentinel headache were more likely to have a history of atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder, compared to those who did not have a stroke.

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arterial fibrillation

Another possible warning sign of a stroke is a “transient ischemic attack” (TIA), also known as a “mini-stroke.” One study found that 43% of stroke patients experienced TIA symptoms at some point in the 7 days before their full stroke event. A TIA occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is temporarily interrupted, causing stroke-like symptoms that typically resolve within an hour without causing permanent damage.

However, even though the symptoms may disappear quickly, a TIA should never be ignored. In fact, research shows that around one-third of people who experience a TIA will go on to have a full-blown stroke at some point in the future.

That said, there is some good news – a recent study published in JAMA, found that the number of people having an acute stroke within 90 days of a TIA, has actually decreased in recent years. This suggests that the preventive measures taken after a TIA, such as medication, lifestyle changes, and close medical monitoring, have become more effective at staving off a subsequent major stroke.

It’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know experiences signs of TIA, such as:

  • Paralysis, numbness and weakness on one side of the body, usually in the face, arms, or legs;
  • Having trouble speaking, or understanding speech;
  • Loss of balance or coordination, trouble walking;
  • Blurred vision in one or both eyes;
  • Confusion, dizziness;
  • and a sudden, severe headache with no clear cause.

When you see these TIA warning signs, try to get medical attention within 60 minutes. Seeking prompt medical care allows doctors to quickly identify the cause of the TIA and provide the right treatment. This is crucial, as research shows that up to 80% of strokes that occur after a TIA are actually preventable, as long as the TIA is diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.

Next, let’s break down what you should do in real-time if you suspect a stroke is occurring.

The “BE-FAST” model is a tool designed to help you remember the key symptoms of a stroke. Each letter stands for a specific symptom, and the last letter is a direct instruction on what to do. Here’s what “BE-FAST” stands for, and the actions to take:

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Balance – Is there a sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination? If you notice someone suddenly stumbling or losing their balance, provide support to prevent a fall.

Eyes – Is there sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes? If someone complains of blurred or double vision, reassure them help is on the way.

Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile to assess if one side is drooping.

Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to lift both arms. Does one arm drift down? This could indicate muscle weakness.

Speech Difficulty – Is the speech slurred or impaired? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence and listen. Does the person have difficulty repeating simple phrases?

Time – “T” stands for “time”, and “Time is Brain”. Call emergency services immediately, if someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms are mild or go away.

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The sooner a stroke survivor receives medical treatment, the better their chances of full recovery. Remember that “Time lost, is brain lost”.

Next, there are important actions you can take while waiting for the ambulance, that can greatly benefit the outcome for the stroke survivor.

Encourage the person to lie down: If they are sitting or standing, gently encourage them to lie down on their side with their head elevated. This helps blood flow to the brain. But don’t move them if they’ve fallen. Loosen restrictive clothing to keep them comfortable.

Keep track of symptoms: Note the time the symptoms started, and any known medical conditions the person has, like high blood pressure or diabetes. This information will be vital for the hospital staff to make rapid treatment decisions.

Talk to the person: Ask about any medications they’re taking and any allergies they have. Write this down to share with the doctors later.

Perform CPR if needed: If the person becomes unconscious, check their breathing and pulse. If they’re not breathing, start CPR immediately. The ambulance call taker can guide you through it.

Stay calm: It’s a stressful situation, but try to remain calm. This will help you clearly communicate with the emergency responders.

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Here are 4 things you should NOT do while waiting for emergency help:

Don’t let them sleep: Stroke survivors often report feeling extremely tired and sleepy when a stroke first occurs, but do not let them sleep, or talk you out of calling for emergency help.

Don’t let them drive: Do not drive yourself or someone else to the emergency room. Call and wait for the ambulance.

Don’t give medication: Do not give the person any medication, even something as common as aspirin. Strokes can be caused by blood clots or burst blood vessels, and the wrong medication can make the situation worse.

Don’t give any food or drink: Avoid giving the person anything to eat or drink. Strokes can cause muscle weakness and difficulty swallowing, which raise the risk of choking.

Remember, strokes are a medical emergency. The treatments that can help are most effective if given right after symptoms start. There’s a “golden hour” for stroke treatment, which is why noting the time when symptoms first appeared is so important. Emergency care can provide medications like clot-busters, which can minimize brain damage if administered quickly.

Next, what are the risk factors for stroke?

There are several risk factors for stroke, some of which can be controlled or treated, while others cannot. The main risk factors include:

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  • High blood pressure, the leading cause of stroke, which damages and weakens blood vessels, making them more prone to bursting or becoming blocked.
  • Diabetes, which increases the risk of stroke by leading to a buildup of fatty deposits in blood vessels, blocking blood flow to the brain.
  • Heart diseases, such as atrial fibrillation, which can lead to the formation of clots.
  • Smoking, which damages blood vessels and can lead to clot formation.
  • Age, as the risk of stroke increases with age.
  • And Family history of stroke.

For people who have both high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, the risks are even higher. Studies show the combination of these two conditions can more than quadruple a person’s chances of having a disabling or fatal stroke, compared to those without either condition.

Next, what can you do to reduce your risk of a stroke?

While you can’t completely prevent a stroke, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to significantly lower your risk. Here are the key steps to take:

  • Keep your blood pressure within a healthy range through diet, exercise, supplements, or medication if prescribed.
  • Get your cholesterol levels checked regularly and keep them in a healthy range. Click the link below, to see our recommended supplement to effectively reduce blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol.
  • If you have diabetes, closely monitor and manage your blood sugar levels.
  • Quit smoking; smoking greatly increases your chances of having a stroke.
  • Aim for a moderate, healthy weight through diet and exercise; excess weight strains your cardiovascular system.
  • Try to get physical activity most days of the week; regular exercise lowers many stroke risk factors.
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet that’s low in processed foods, and rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables. grass-fed meat and wild fish.
  • Limit alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure.
  • Get regular check-ups and work with your healthcare provider to monitor your health.

Remember, taking proactive steps to manage your health is the best defense against stroke.

Finally, let’s summarize the 10 warning signs that a stroke is happening:

  • Face Drooping;
  • Slurred Speech;
  • Loss of Arm Movement;
  • Blurred Vision;
  • Sudden, Severe Headache;
  • Confusion, and Dizziness;
  • Balance Issues, and Difficulty Walking;
  • Paralysis, Numbness, and Weakness on One Side of the Body;
  • Difficulty Swallowing;
  • Loss of Consciousness.
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