Stroke symptoms

Possible symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Paralysis symptoms, typically weakness and/or numbness in one arm and/or leg
  • Drooping of the mouth
  • Impaired speech
  • Visual disturbances, such as visual field defects or double vision in both eyes
  • Difficulty with balance and walking, combined with dizziness
  • The symptoms are usually painless. Haemorrhagic stroke may be associated with a sudden, severe headache.

When to call 112

If you or your loved one suddenly develops a possible symptom of stroke, call the emergency number 112 right away. The patient needs to be transported by ambulance to a hospital emergency room (not a local health centre) because clot-dissolving therapy must be started during the first few hours of an ischaemic stroke. Tissue is starved of oxygen when a blood vessel is blocked. The longer the blockage lasts, the greater the damage. Every minute counts. Calling 112 starts a chain of events that includes administering the right treatment in the ambulance and admitting the patient directly to the correct hospital unit.

Always call the emergency number, even if the symptoms go away. A transient ischaemic attack (TIA) is dangerous because it is a warning sign. An ischaemic stroke occurs within 90 days after a patient’s first TIA in 10–20 percent of cases, and within 48 hours in as many as half of these cases.