Living » Ask the Experts at East Jefferson General Hospital

How do I know if I'm having a stroke?

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In general, the more common symptoms of having a stroke and/or TIA (a transient ischemic attack or "mini-stroke") have to do with alterations of neurologic function. For example, if a person notices a sudden numbness, tingling, or weakness on one side of their body — either facially or in an extremity — these can be symptoms of the onset of a stroke. Other symptoms can be a sudden loss of vision, particularly in one eye, or the inability to speak. The speech may also become somewhat garbled.

In summary, any sudden loss of any of the senses, particularly sensation, vision, speech, or sudden loss of function, is a sign that you could be having a stroke. For example, an arm or leg may become weak suddenly. These are the most common symptoms of an onset of a stroke. Occasionally, confusion may be the onset of a stroke but this is not common. Also, if someone has an expressive aphasia, which is the inability to speak, this could be misinterpreted as confusion, but is truly a speech problem and can be a sign of stroke.

Dr. Brad Collins is an internist at East Jefferson General Hospital. To make an appointment with Dr. Collins or another physician at EJGH, please contact HealthFinder at 504-456-5000.

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