Why you mustn’t ignore symptoms like dizziness, loss of balance, numbness in one side of the body

A stroke is a medical disorder in which the blood supply to the brain gets disrupted, resulting in cell death. According to experts, the risk factors for a stroke increase with unhealthy lifestyle habits, hence, making it crucial to recognise the symptoms and understand what to do in case of a stroke.

As such, below are some frequently asked questions on stroke and how to deal with it in case of an emergency situation at home, courtesy Dr Nitin Dange, senior consultant, neurosurgery and endovascular surgery, Global Hospital, Parel, Mumbai.

Types of stroke

There are two main types of stroke: Ischemic stroke, which is caused by a lack of blood flow; and hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by bleeding. Both of these conditions lead regions of the brain to stop working properly. “Inability to move or feel on one side of the body, trouble understanding or speaking, dizziness, or loss of vision on one side are all signs and symptoms of a stroke,” Dr Dange said.

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A transient ischemic attack (TIA), often known as a mini-stroke, occurs when symptoms appear for less than two hours. A severe headache is often associated with a hemorrhagic stroke. Stroke symptoms can last a lifetime. Long-term effects may include pneumonia and the inability to regulate one’s bladder.

Symptoms and signs of a stroke

*Numbness or weakness in one side of the body, especially the face, arm, or leg.
*Confusion, difficulty in speaking, or difficulty understanding speech that may occur suddenly.
*Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes.
*Dizziness, loss of balance, sudden difficulty in walking, or a lack of coordination.
*Numbness or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg. This usually only affects one side of the body. So, in case one is unable to lift one arm or when one side of the mouth begins to droop, immediately seek medical assistance.
*Double vision or blurred or darkened vision in one or both eyes.

music therapy, what is music therapy, music therapy for stroke, music therapy for parkinson's It is important to pay attention to signs and symptoms of stroke (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

What to do?

During a stroke, time is of utmost essence. Call emergency services and get to the hospital immediately. A stroke can produce dizziness or unconsciousness, which might lead to a fall.

In case of an emergency, take the following steps:

*Make an emergency call. Have someone else call for you if you are experiencing stroke symptoms. While you wait for emergency assistance, try to remain as calm as possible.
*If you’re looking after someone who’s had a stroke, make sure they are in a safe and comfortable position. In case they vomit, make them lie down on one side with their head slightly lifted and supported.
*Examine their breathing. Perform CPR if they are not breathing.
*If they’re having difficulty breathing, then loosen any constrictive clothing, such as a tie or scarf.
*To keep them warm, wrap them in a blanket.
*Don’t let them eat or drink anything.
*Keep a close eye on the person for any changes in their condition. Prepare to describe their symptoms to the emergency operator. If the victim fell or injured their head, make sure to mention it.


Knowing your stroke risk factors, following your health care provider’s advise, and leading a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to avoid a stroke. The following are some general tips for a healthy lifestyle.

*Keeping high blood pressure under control (hypertension). High blood pressure is commonly treated with healthy lifestyle changes and medicines.
*Lowering the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet. Reduced cholesterol and fat intake, particularly saturated and trans fats, may help to prevent plaque development in the arteries. If dietary modifications alone aren’t enough to lower your cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering drug.
*Quitting tobacco use. Smoking increases the risk of stroke.
*Besides these, a proper diet, exercise, and weight loss can all help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level. If lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient to maintain your blood sugar levels and diabetes, your doctor may prescribe diabetes medication.

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