Stroke symptoms: The 5 less common signs to take seriously

Even if you don’t think you’re at high risk of stroke, a stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK. So, knowing the symptoms of the deadly attack could save a life. You may have heard of the FAST acronym to help you remember the main symptoms of stroke, but these aren’t the only symptoms you need to be aware of. Here are the five less common signs to be taken seriously.

A stroke can happen to anyone of any age, at any time.

While there are some things that increase your risk of stroke (smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, excessive alcohol intake, lack of exercise and stress), it’s not possible to completely prevent strokes.

You can’t totally rule out a stroke either. For example, you’re more likely to have a stroke over the age of 55, but a quarter of strokes happen to younger people.

Knowing how to spot the signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else and what to do is vital.

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Stroke is always a medical emergency, so you need to ring 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance if you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke.

The FAST test can help you recognise the four most common signs.

  • Facial weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • Arm weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
  • Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • Time to call 999: if you see any of these signs.

Making sure you and your loved ones all know the FAST test is a great way to be prepared for a stroke incident, but these aren’t the only signs of stroke.

According to the Stroke Association, you should always take the following symptoms seriously too:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
  • Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
  • Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion, dizziness or a sudden fall.
  • A sudden, severe headache.

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 999 straight away (even if they’re not accompanied by the FAST test symptoms).

If the symptoms disappear while you’re waiting for the ambulance, it’s still important to go to the hospital for an assessment.

Acting quickly will give the person having a stroke the best chance of survival and recovery.

Ambulance paramedics are trained in treating strokes and will ensure the person receives emergency medical care and specialist treatment.

After an assessment in the hospital, you’ll be referred to a specialist to determine the cause of stroke within 24 hours of the start of your symptoms. You may even be treated at this point.

Symptoms that disappear quickly and in less than 24 hours could be a sign of a transient ischaemic attack, so don’t just forget about it and move on – this is a medical emergency.

Transient ischaemic attacks, also known as mini-strokes, tend to last only between a few minutes and a few hours.

The NHS site warns: “Although the symptoms do improve, a TIA should never be ignored as it’s a serious warning sign of a problem with the blood supply to your brain.

“It means you’re at an increased risk of having a stroke in the near future.

“If a TIA is suspected, you will be offered aspirin to take straight away. This helps to prevent a stroke.”

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