150,329 members

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Symptoms & Risk Factors

Symptoms of stroke and TIA

The symptoms of a stroke vary depending on the type (ischaemic or haemorrhagic) and location of the stroke in the brain. Stroke symptoms usually occur suddenly, coming on within seconds or minutes. Occasionally, it can be over a period of hours or more rarely, days. A person who is suspected of having a stroke should be taken to hospital as an emergency, as the sooner a stroke is diagnosed and treated the less damage there is likely to be to the brain tissue and the better chance of a good recovery.

Symptoms include:

  • Sudden weakness,
  • numbness or paralysis often down one side affecting the face, arm, leg or the whole of one side of the body.
  • Loss or disturbance of vision, especially in one eye.
  • Confusion or difficulty understanding.
  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing.
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or co-ordination.
  • Sudden severe headache.

Risk factors for stroke

  • Men are at a higher risk than women until the age of 55, then both sexes are affected equally.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High blood cholesterol.
  • Smoking.
  • A family history of strokes.
  • African-Caribbean background.
  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity and inactive lifestyle.
  • Having a previous stroke, coronary artery disease or peripheral arterial disease.
  • Heavy alcohol use and binge drinking.