Stroke: symptoms

Some strokes are heralded by heralds, but most strokes occur suddenly and often show noticeable symptoms. Then it is only a matter of alerting help as quickly as possible, because every minute counts in a stroke. If regions of the brain are no longer adequately supplied with oxygen due to insufficient blood flow, brain cells die. Nerve cells are highly sensitive structures and die after three minutes without an oxygen supply. What are the typical symptoms and signs of a stroke / apoplexy? How do you recognize a stroke as early as possible and can you quickly alert help? describes the first signs and typical symptoms of a stroke / apoplexy.

Table of Contents

Recognize the first signs of a stroke

How does a stroke feel? How do you notice a stroke? These questions are not so easy to answer. Not every stroke shows the same symptoms. Sometimes there are first signs of a stroke like a tender tingling in the small finger, sometimes a speech disorder or semi-palsy occurs from one moment to the next, which is immediately apparent to both the person concerned and their surroundings.

The symptoms of a stroke depend on where the damage occurs in the brain and which areas of the brain are affected by the stroke: Stroke in the cerebellum or stroke in the brain stem, stroke in the right or left brain.

Sometimes signs of a stroke are not perceived as such, especially if the symptoms disappear like a brief numb lip after a few minutes. In this case one speaks of the so-called. breastfeeding stroke or unnoticed stroke. It can be a preliminary stage of severe strokes: the so-called. Transient ischemic attack (short: TIA). In the event of an unnoticed or silent stroke, the circulatory disorder affected inconspicuous areas of the brain that show no direct effects and noticeable symptoms. Such an incident will not be pursued further, although it may already be a harbinger of a stroke / apoplexy.

Stroke symptoms: how to recognize a stroke?

But what are the typical symptoms of a stroke? What are the most common signs and what are the differences between apoplex symptoms in women and men?

The first symptom of a stroke is usually a sudden, violent headache because the blood pressure rises extremely to compensate for the insufficient supply in the brain. This is followed by all the symptoms that are due to neurological failures in certain areas of the brain. Z. B. the language center affected and depending on the extent of the stroke and its consequences, language education may remain impaired in the long term.

Specific symptoms of a stroke are:

  1. extreme sudden headache
    (e.g. in combination with nausea and vomiting)
  2. sudden speech disorders
    (e.g. choppy speech, complete speech loss)
  3. sudden loss of consciousness
    (e.g. lack of orientation up to days of unconsciousness)
  4. partial or partial paralysis (so-called hemiparesis)
    (e.g. drooping corner of the mouth or drooping eyelid)
  5. sensory disturbances
    (e.g. numbness or tingling in one half of the face, arm or leg, or half of the body)
  6. difficulty walking
    (e.g. swaying or falling)

Other non-specific symptoms of a stroke may include:

  1. sudden vision problems
    (e.g. flickering eyes, double vision or blindness in one eye)
  2. suddenly violent dizziness
  3. Difficulty swallowing / swallowing disorders (dysphagia)
  4. urinary incontinence

Consider stroke

If you notice a stroke in yourself or in other symptoms, you should always remember that it could be a stroke. Call the medical emergency service immediately, which can be reached at 112 throughout Europe.

In order to investigate the causes of the stroke as quickly as possible and best to start treatment immediately, quick help for the stroke is so important. The more time passes, the more serious the consequences can be, since brain cells die quickly when there is no oxygen supply. In many clinics there are special departments for stroke patients, so-called “stroke units”, which specialize in the treatment of strokes.

Only rarely do all symptoms appear at once. Sometimes it is "just" a violent headache, very often there are also speech disorders. Symptoms such as impaired vision and speech, headache, dizziness, sudden high blood pressure, tingling in the arms and legs, numb fingers or lips, difficulty swallowing and paralysis of the face almost certainly indicate a stroke. Nevertheless, you should always play it safe and call an emergency doctor if your symptoms are less noticeable.

Only a doctor can confirm or rule out the diagnosis of apoplex.

FAST test for stroke

A good rule of thumb for stroke detection is the FAST method. It describes three typical symptoms that laypeople can use to check for a stroke. The letters FAST stand for

  • Face (face)
  • Arms (arms)
  • Speech (language)
  • Time (time)

If you suspect someone has had a stroke, have them do three simple exercises:

  1. Ask the person to smile. (FACE)
    If this does not succeed, the patient may be hemiplegic.
  2. Ask the person to raise both arms at the same time. (ARMS)
    In the case of paralysis, both arms can no longer be raised.
  3. Let the person repeat a simple sentence. (SPeech)
    Slurred speech or an inability to speak indicates a stroke.

If the person affected has problems with one of these tasks, they may have suffered a stroke. Now every minute counts and no time may be lost (TIME). Call 911 because the sooner the right treatment is initiated, the better the consequences can be minimized. The FAST test is also recommended by the German Stroke Aid.

Stroke symptoms in women, men and children

The symptoms of a stroke depend not only on the location of the stroke in the brain, but also on the gender and age of the person affected. This means that symptoms may appear differently in adult women than in adult men, and other symptoms may appear in children.

Stroke symptoms in women

Women have a number of symptoms that men who have a stroke do not have. So an apoplex in women is often accompanied by

  • chest pain
  • hiccup
  • difficulty in breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Limb and joint pain.

Stroke: symptoms in men

In men, the symptoms of apoplexy are often more classic, i.e. H. typical neurological disorders such as

  • a headache,
  • Vision and balance problems,
  • paralysis.

After a stroke B. paralyzed the right side of the body, is this an indication of a stroke in the left hemisphere. The nerves cross the other side on the way from the brain to the muscles.

Stroke: symptoms in children

A stroke is not only one of the typical diseases in old age, but can also affect children, although their risk factors are also different than in adults. In children, malformations, illnesses or injuries are often the cause of strokes.

You should be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Speech and understanding disorders
  • blurred vision
  • Paralysis of one half of the body (so-called hemiparesis)
  • twitches
  • dizziness
  • numbness
  • sudden violent headache with vomiting.

Stroke in children

The diagnosis of stroke is not particularly obvious in children, but there are children who are at increased risk (e.g. during cancer therapy, after an infection such as chickenpox, with a heart defect or with genetically caused blood clotting disorders).

First aid after a stroke

What should you do if you recognize typical symptoms of a stroke in yourself or in another person? Which stroke help is important and which measures must be taken immediately?

First aid measures for stroke

If you suspect that someone near you has had a stroke, you should take the following measures:

  • Contact the emergency services immediately and win Time with it. Explicitly say that you fear a stroke.
  • Check the person’s breathing. If she has stopped, start resuscitation immediately.
  • Do not leave the victim alone. Talk to him and calm him down.
  • Sit down. However, put his upper body up and never lay him flat on the floor.
  • Loosen tight clothing >

Describe symptoms exactly to the doctor

When the emergency doctor arrives, you should describe the exact symptoms and the time when the symptoms first appeared. This is relevant for choosing the right treatment & Therapy after stroke.

First aid measures of a stroke in yourself

If you have had a stroke yourself and can take action, you should do the following:

  • Contact the emergency services immediately. Express your suspicions of a stroke.
  • Never drive to the doctor yourself, if you are concerned about a stroke.
  • Sit on the floor and leave your torso erect.
  • Don’t hide any symptoms, even if they disappear after a short time! Tell your family or a neighbor straight away if you experience sudden onset symptoms that indicate a stroke.
  • Do not eat or drink anything anymore. A stroke is often accompanied by difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).

Be prepared for a stroke

If you know that your risk of having a stroke is higher, or if you have had a stroke before, you should always have a current medication schedule, your doctor’s address, and a brief list of your previous medical conditions. All of this can then be given to the emergency doctor.

You can also compile such a list if you simply want to play it safe. The risk of suffering a stroke increases with age.

Heart attack & Stroke: difference

Stroke or heart attack? There are differences between the two diseases that you should know. The difference heart attack & Stroke is u. a. in pain symptoms. The classic symptoms of a heart attack compared to a stroke include:

  • sudden, violent chest pain, that radiates up to the shoulder, neck, lower jaw, arms, back and / or upper abdomen
  • Restlessness, fear
  • pale, sweaty skin
  • cold hands
  • low blood pressure

In women, the elderly and diabetics, however, a heart attack often manifests itself through other symptoms. So it happens z. B. often not for the typical chest pain, but rather for a feeling of pressure in the chest and abdomen.

Typical symptoms of a heart attack in women, the elderly and diabetics are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • shortness of breath
  • Pain in the jaw, neck, back or arms
  • Abdominal pain

All of these symptoms appear suddenly and violently in a heart attack.

Quick help for heart attacks

Very fast help is also important in the event of a heart attack. Call the emergency services immediately at the first signs. The consequences of a heart attack can be minimized by rapid treatment.


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Christina Cherry
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