Health and Stroke

What Does a Stroke Feel Like?

Everybody will experience stroke differently, this is why it is such a challenge to notice it in time. Read more here...

Nov 23, 2021

Zeit Medical

What Does a Stroke Feel Like?

What a stroke feels like to each individual can vary drastically. This is because a stroke, caused by bleeding or a blockage in the brain, can occur practically anywhere in the brain. Each distinguished area controls different parts of the body, such as vision, motor movement, and speech.

As a society, we tend to focus on how the signs of a stroke are detected externally so that we can help spot a potential stroke in other people and get them immediate care. However, knowing how it feels to experience a stroke can be extremely helpful as well. Today, we will dive into what a stroke actually feels like for someone dealing with this serious health issue firsthand.

Signs That You're Experiencing a Stroke

Below are first hand reports of what a stroke felt like to someone experiencing a stroke from the AARP. You will notice some of their symptoms are typical while others are not.

  • After several days of experiencing headaches he attributed to his sinuses, Doug had some off and on cramping in his left arm and leg one day. When he met a friend for dinner in the evening, his friend told him to stop mumbling. That’s when they both realized something was wrong and his friend quickly called 911. 
  • Joyce suffered a series of strokes that all brought different symptoms. Each time she experienced something new she knew that her health was in danger. With her first stroke, she couldn’t articulate the word “key” to her son no matter how hard she tried. Subsequently, she noticed sudden weakness in her body, confusion, difficulty speaking full sentences, reading, and writing, and even strange sounds and dizziness.
  • Debra noticed some pain in her right leg one morning before leaving to hike with her family. Her pain got progressively worse until she couldn’t walk anymore without limping. When she got home with her husband and asked him to hand her some aspirin for her sore leg and a headache, they both realized that she couldn’t lift her right arm and they left immediately for the hospital. 

Each individual’s story is a little different. Thankfully, most of them noticed symptoms quickly and got the care they needed to reduce the onset of lasting symptoms and disability. Other typical symptoms that these people did not experience include facial drooping, feeling off balance, changes in vision, and difficulty swallowing.

Additionally, there is a myth about smelling burned toast as well. However, this has never been scientifically confirmed. If you notice any of these symptoms, it's best to seek medical care immediately with the assistance of a friend or family member.

The Problem with Relying on These Symptoms

Unfortunately, if you only experience one or two of these symptoms you may not feel motivated to seek stroke care. Yet, if you are experiencing a stroke it's vital to get care as soon as possible. In fact, the sooner you are able to get the treatment you need the lesser the chance that you will experience debilitating chronic symptoms.

The medical reality these days is that hospitals are completely overwhelmed. Plus, the cost of getting medical care (even with insurance) can be astronomical. It's no wonder that most people wait to go to the hospital until they have severe symptoms. So how do you decide if your symptoms warrant a visit? Especially when that visit can possibly save your life and reduce your risk of long term consequences?

Paving the Way to a Better Future

The truth is that symptoms of stroke are quite vague and can start so mildly sometimes that they don't raise any red flags until it's too late. Most people will first attribute their symptoms to stress and fatigue until they get progressively worse. Thankfully, cutting edge bioelectrical technology will make the ambiguities of detecting changes in brain health a thing of the past. New methods of stroke detection at home can make quick management straightforward. With these technologies, the goal is to make dealing with a stroke less of an enigma and reduce the burden for everyone affected by this very serious health issue. 

Photos by Tingey Injury Law Firm and Zac Ong on Unsplash

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