What Does a Stroke Feel Like?: The Physical and Emotional Symptoms of a Stroke

what does a stroke feel like

Have you ever wondered what a stroke feels like? This is a question that many people have, but few are able to answer. A stroke, or brain attack, can be a frightening experience, and it’s important to know the symptoms so that you can get help as quickly as possible if you think you might be having a stroke. In this blog post, we will discuss the physical and emotional stroke symptoms.

  • What is a stroke?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • How do you know if you’re having a stroke?
  • What to do if you think you’re having a stroke?
  • How strokes are treated
  • Recovery from a stroke



What is a Stroke?

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is a medical emergency that can happen when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This can cause the death of brain cells due to a lack of oxygen. A stroke can occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain, when a burst blood vessel causes bleeding into the brain, or when inflammation or injury to the brain tissue blocks the flow of blood.

There are three types of stroke based on the cause. Stroke is caused by one of two things: a clogged artery (ischemic stroke) or a blood vessel spilling or leaking once it bursts (hemorrhagic stroke). Some patients may have just a brief disturbance in blood flow to the brain, known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which may not result in long-term symptoms.

Ischemic stroke

This type of stroke is the most prevalent. It occurs when the blood arteries in the brain become restricted or blocked, resulting in substantially decreased blood supply (ischemia). Blood clots or other debris that move through the bloodstream, most typically from the heart, and lodge in the blood arteries in the brain produce blocked or narrowed blood vessels.

Hemorrhagic stroke

When a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures, it causes a hemorrhagic stroke.

Many disorders that alter the blood arteries can cause brain hemorrhages.

Hemorrhagic strokes occur with the following risk factors:ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke

  • High blood pressure that is uncontrolled
  • Excessive use of blood thinners (anticoagulants)
  • Bulges at vulnerable points in your blood vessel walls (aneurysms)
  • A traumatic event (such as a car accident)
  • Protein deposits in blood vessel walls cause vessel wall weakening (cerebral amyloid angiopathy)
  • Ischemic stroke with hemorrhage

The rupture of an irregular tangle of thin-walled blood arteries is a less prevalent cause of brain hemorrhage (arteriovenous malformation)

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini stroke, is a brief period of symptoms similar to a stroke. It is caused by a brief drop in blood flow to a portion of the brain that can last as little as five minutes. A TIA, like an ischemic stroke, occurs when a clot or debris restricts or prevents blood flow to a portion of the nervous system.

Although TIA does not result in permanent damage, we still advise patients to consult their doctors even if their symptoms subsided. There is no telling if you’re having a stroke or TIA based only on the symptoms. If you’ve had a TIA, it means you may have a partially blocked or narrowed artery leading to the brain. Having this episode increases your risk of having a full-blown stroke later.

What are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

The warning signs of a stroke can vary depending on which part of the brain is affected. Some common symptoms include:

Sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the body. You may develop sudden one-sided numbness, weakness, or paralysis in the face, arm, or leg. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Also, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile.

Difficulty speaking or understanding speech. You may experience confusion, slur words, pain in the jaw, or find it difficult to understand what others are saying.

Trouble seeing in one or both eyes. You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or you may see double. If you experience this issue often, it’s best to consult an ophthalmologist in your area.

Sudden severe headache. This is accompanied by dizziness or disorientation, leading to loss of consciousness.

Impaired mobility. You may stumble or lose your balance. You may also have sudden dizziness or a loss of coordination.


How do you know if you’re having a Stroke?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a stroke, it is important to seek medical attention right away. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the more likely they are to make a full recovery.

There are several ways to tell if you are having a stroke. Think FAST:

Face: Try to smile while looking in the mirror. If you see that one side droops, it may be a sign that something is wrong.

Arms: Lift both your arms at the same time and keep them raised for quite some time. If one arm falls involuntarily as if you’re losing control over it, you may be having a stroke.

Speech: say a phrase a couple of times and ask someone to listen to your speech. If it becomes slurred and inaudible, call for help immediately.

Time: Make sure that once you experience any of these symptoms, or observe these in a friend or family member, contact your doctor or go straight to the hospital immediately.


What to do if you Think you’re having a Stroke?

If you think you’re having a stroke, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. The sooner you receive treatment for a stroke, the more likely you are to make a full recovery.

Prompt treatment is key to preventing the following outcomes:

  • brain damage
  • long-term disability
  • death

It’s better to be overly cautious when dealing with a stroke, so don’t be afraid to get emergency medical help if you think you recognize the signs of a stroke.


How Strokes are Treated

There are a few ways to treat a stroke, depending on the severity of the stroke and the symptoms. Some common treatments for disease control include:


There are a number of medications that can help to break up blood clots and restore blood flow to the brain. Thrombolytic drugs can break up blood clots in your brain’s arteries, which still stop the stroke and reduce damage to the brain.

One such drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), or Alteplase IV r-tPA, is considered the gold standard in ischemic stroke treatment.

This drug works by dissolving blood clots quickly.

People who receive a tPA injection are more likely to recover from a stroke and less likely to have any lasting disability as a result of the stroke

Surgery and other procedures

stroke consultation and diagnosisIn some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the clot or repair the damaged artery.

The National Stroke Association claims that doctors can use mechanical thrombolectomy, where they insert a catheter into a large blood vessel inside your head to pull the clot out.

Doctors can also use a stent if he finds where artery walls have weakened. This procedure inflates the narrowed artery and supports the walls of the artery with a stent.

If a patient’s condition limits the efficiency of these procedures, the doctors may opt to surgically remove the blood clot and plaques in the artery. They can also perform a craniotomy to relieve some of the pressure on the brain.


Recovery from a Stroke

In the United States, stroke is the primary cause of long-term disability. However, according to the American Stroke Association, 10% of stroke survivors recover virtually completely, while the remaining 25% recover with minor complications. It is critical that stroke recovery, healing, and therapy begin as soon as feasible.

Stroke rehabilitation should, in fact, begin in the hospital. A treatment team in a hospital can stabilize your health and analyze the impact of the stroke. They can uncover underlying causes and begin therapy to assist you in regaining some of your lost skills.

Stroke rehabilitation generally focuses on four major areas:

Speech and language therapy

Speech and linguistic problems can result from a stroke. You will work with a speech and language therapist to relearn how to talk.

Alternatively, if you have difficulty communicating verbally after a stroke, they will assist you in finding other methods to communicate.

Cognitive behavioral treatment

Many people may have changes in their thinking and reasoning abilities following a stroke. This can lead to changes in behavior and mood.

An occupational therapist can assist you in regaining your previous patterns of thought and behavior, as well as managing your emotional responses.

Relearning sensory abilities

If the portion of your brain that sends sensory impulses is damaged during the stroke, you may notice that your senses are “dulled” or no longer function properly.

This might indicate that you are not sensitive to temperature, pressure, or discomfort. An occupational therapist can assist you in learning to cope with this loss of feeling.

Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy

A stroke can cause muscle tone and strength to deteriorate, and you may find yourself unable to move your body as well as you once could.

A physical therapist will work with you to rebuild strength and balance, as well as to identify strategies to work around any limits.

Rehabilitation might take place at a clinic, skilled nursing home, or in the comfort of your own home.



Strokes can be deadly, but they are also preventable. If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke, don’t wait- call 9-1-1 immediately. With quick action, the vast majority of strokes can be treated and reversed. We hope this article has educated you on the signs, causes, and treatment of strokes. Please leave any comments or questions below and share with your friends and family. Together we can raise awareness about this devastating disease and help save lives.






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