National Stroke Awareness Month. What are the signs of a stroke?

May is National Stroke Awareness Month so PatientTalk.Org are running a blog which aims not juststroke2 to raise awareness of stokes but also to provide some tips on how you can spot somebody having a stroke.

In the USA it has been estimated that 140,000 die of strokes each year and that it is the third most common cause of death.  Typically it affects people over the age of 65.

So what actually is a stroke?  Often called a brain attack strokes are typically separated into two different kinds. Ischemic strokes occur when there is a blockage of the artery in the brain.  These are by far the most common type of strokes.  A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts causing leakage of blood into the brain.

It is worth mentioning that in almost all cases the symptoms come on very fast.  The five main signs of a stroke are:-

1)      Sudden very severe headaches

2)      Sudden numbness.  It could be the face, a limb or one side of the body

3)      Dizziness and a loss of balance

4)      Sudden difficulty in seeing with one or both eyes.

5)      Inability to speak, cognitive dysfunctions and difficulty in understanding others.

If you suffer from symptoms of a stroke (even temporary ones) it is vital that you contact emergency services as soon as possible.  The faster you get treatment the better your changes of recovery from a stroke.

Have you or a loved one had a stroke?  If so it would be great if you could share your story.  We are interested in all aspects of your stroke story but you might think about the following questions:-

a)      When did you have your stroke and at what age?

b)      Do you know what the causes of your stroke were?

c)       What sort of treatment for your stroke did you receive and how effective were these treatments?

d)      How did having a stroke affect your lifestyle?

It would be great if you could use the comment box below to share your stroke story with our readers

Many thanks in advance.


Angela I am so sorry that you were treated so poorly! Where are you located?


Hi  I am 47 yrs old female and i had my TIA 7 weeks ago today.  I temporarily lost the sight in my right eye, I rang my doctors who took 1.5hrs to call me back.  When I did get to the doctors I was told to go to the optician, and she would fax the eye clinic at the hospital.  8 hrs after the loss of eyesight I was told I had a blood clot behind my eye and i need to go back to my GP.  thankfully the eye hospital rang me the next day to go and see them at 2pm.  I was told by the eye consultant that I had a TIA and that my organs needed to be scanned urgently.  He also said that I need to be seen by the Stroke consultant ASAP.  This all happened just before Easter, so on Good Friday I rang my hospital and was told everything is shut for Easter and I will be contacted after Easter. Now I thought having a TIA/mild stroke was a urgent matter, so I rang NHS Direct who told me to go to A&E urgently.  I did this and was told by the doctor at the hospital in A&E that I did not make the criteria for them to do anything, I had to wait until the Stroke clinic opened on the Tuesday after Easter, 6 days after my attack!  I must point out that my sight returned later that day when it happened, but my sight was blurred in that eye.  I was of course also worried that i might have another stroke, I just needed someone to help me.  So after a fraughtful weekend I rang the Stroke clinic on the Tuesday, they could not see me until the following day.  Anyway I went to see the Stroke consultant and was put on Clopidogrel and statins.  Had my Cartoid arteries scanned and was given a heart moniter to wear for 7 days. I also had blood tests, and was told that if I was atall worried or had any symptons that I was not normal to me then i was to go to A&E.  I was told i would get an appointment to have a echocardiogram as well.  I will be having the echocardiogram on the 21st May 2013 8 weeks after the TIA.  As yet this is the only appointment I have.  And have no idea when I will be seeing the Stroke consultant again. Or what the results of my heart moniter was. And apparently they are not going to scan my organs! I was of course not allowed to drive for 4 weeks, which has not been too bad, I have relied on many of my friends and family, and they have been a good support for me. 

I am sorry to moan about the way I have been treated but I am so worried about having another stroke, I have had very little assurance, except from the nurse at the hospital when i saw the stroke consultant.  I also went to A&E last Wedneday evening as I had alot of pain in the eye I lost my sight in, it was a horrible stabbing pain in my eye socket, so I went to A&E only to wait for over 4 hours and told that I probably have a eyelash in my eye!! i have had that before many years ago .  and even though there is discomfort, this was definatley not a eyelash! but you can't say to a professional Doctor that i disagree! 

Anyway I am being looked after by my family, it has effected my lifestyle in some ways, especially the tiredness, but I have to be positve and believe that I am going to be ok, but unfortunately I have no faith in the medical care anymore. I have found the stroke website a good source of information, and on Facebook the group different strokes as been a blessing for me, many people under the age of 65 who have had a stroke and how they are coping with life. I am sorry this story is not that uplifting, but it is my story.  Thank you.