Seeking treatment quickly after experiencing a stroke may help you combat permanent health complications. This means being aware of the first signs of a stroke makes a huge difference to your recovery. Some of these symptoms could even be noticeable in your daily activities.
Symptoms in the FAST test identify most strokes, but occasionally a stroke can cause different symptoms. These can include: complete paralysis of 1 side of the body; sudden loss or blurring of vision; dizziness; confusion.
As well as the aforementioned signs, research also suggests that if you notice a sudden loss of balance whilst you are walking, it could be an early sign of a stroke emerging.
Whilst we all stumble from time to time, if you notice an unusual loss of balance, or a tingling sensation in your legs whilst you walk your body could be trying to give you a warning sign.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the two main types of stroke – ischemic and hemorrhagic – both can cause someone to have trouble walking before further symptoms develop.
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The Mayo Clinic also reveal that this symptom will likely include a sudden loss of balance or sudden dizziness. You might even stumble or lose your coordination.
The majority of strokes affect the motor fibres connected to movement, according to Jen Aanestad, a physical therapy supervisor at St. Francis Memorial Hospital Acute Rehabilitation Centre.
This can damage portions of one side of the brain and cause the other side of the body to become weak or even paralysed – making it difficult or even impossible to walk.
“When you put your foot on the floor, you can feel it. They can’t,” Aanestad explained. “If you can’t feel where your foot is in space, that’s a huge deficit.”
The CDC relies on the FAST acronym when it comes to stroke: Face, Arms, Speech, and Time. This means people should look for signs of the face drooping on one side, one arm drifting downward while raised, and slurred or strange speech. “Time” means you should call 999 straight away.
Now, researchers are advising that the sudden loss of balance should be mentioned in the most common symptoms of having a stroke, in order to detect the sign as soon as possible.
Mitchell Elkind, former president of the American Heart Association (AHA), said that two additional letters: B and E, for “balance” and “eyes,” should be added to the start of the acronym.
Elkind, also a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University said: “The brain is really responsible for everything that you do. It’s responsible for your ability to move, your ability to speak, your ability to think, your ability to see, your ability to feel, to hear, etc. So really, a loss of any of those things can be a sign of a stroke”
A new treatment named endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) can also be used for ischemic strokes, but most patients are only eligible within six hours after symptoms star, or up to 24 hours for select patients. By then, it may be too late.
Problems with balance could be a sign of a transient ischemic attack (TIA), known as mini-stroke. In the case of a TIA, symptoms will go away after a few minutes as blood flow to the brain is usually only blocked for a short time, according to the CDC.
However, this does not mean you should dismiss the symptom. The CDC says that a TIA is likely a warning sign of a future stroke and requires medical care all the same.
In England, it is estimated that around 30 percent of people who have a mini-stroke will go on to experience an ischemic stroke, according to the government’s health stats.