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Symptoms of stroke | Ask the Expert
A stroke results from lack of blood flow to the brain. This means that a region of cells is not able to work properly and can generate a variety of symptoms, depending on the brain area that has been affected. For example, if the brain region controlling speech is lacking blood, a person may not be able to speak and words will come out garbled, incorrect or not at all. Neurologists like to say that brain injury is like real estate: location, location, location. When a vital area loses blood supply and you have a stroke, it is frequently obvious. Main signs include weakness of the face, arms, legs, change in speech, balance or vision. But one can have small strokes affecting minor areas without obvious loss; i.e. these strokes happen in a remote location. If you accumulate enough of these small strokes it may slow down your brain’s processing ability and look like a dementia. So if you think you may have had a stroke, I would seek a medical evaluation to answer this question, particularly if you know you have risk factors for stroke or this condition runs in your family.
Heart Health,Other,Caregiving / Senior Health,

Question:

How do I know if I have had a stroke?

Answer:

Catherine Madison, M.D.Catherine Madison, M.D.NeurologyCalifornia Pacific Medical Center
Expert
Catherine Madison, M.D.NeurologyCalifornia Pacific Medical Center

Dr. Madison is a native of the Bay Area and returned there to take care of her aging parents. Having experienced the difficulty of managing aging parents, a family and career personally, Dr. Madison’s interests in care of these individuals and their families increased greatly. She has been working at CPMC since 2001 and developed a team approach to preserving memory in oneself and caring for family members with dementia.

A stroke results from lack of blood flow to the brain. This means that a region of cells is not able to work properly and can generate a variety of symptoms, depending on the brain area that has been affected. For example, if the brain region controlling speech is lacking blood, a person may not be able to speak and words will come out garbled, incorrect or not at all. Neurologists like to say that brain injury is like real estate: location, location, location. When a vital area loses blood supply and you have a stroke, it is frequently obvious. Main signs include weakness of the face, arms, legs, change in speech, balance or vision.

But one can have small strokes affecting minor areas without obvious loss; i.e. these strokes happen in a remote location. If you accumulate enough of these small strokes it may slow down your brain’s processing ability and look like a dementia.

So if you think you may have had a stroke, I would seek a medical evaluation to answer this question, particularly if you know you have risk factors for stroke or this condition runs in your family.

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