The five warning signs of a stroke are numbness or weakness, especially when it is localized to one particular side of the body; confusion or difficulty speaking; problems with vision or perception; difficulty moving and severe headache, according to U.S. News and World Report. Fast treatment once a stroke begins is important to limiting the damage caused by the stroke.
Numbness in one particular side of the body is cause for alarm, whether it is a leg, arm or the face. When this occurs, have the person experiencing symptoms smile, move both legs and lift the legs. If the person can only use one side of the body to do these tasks, seek emergency help immediately.
If blood is not getting to the area of the brain that controls language, the person experiencing stroke symptoms may be confused or have trouble speaking. This is also true of perception and vision; problems noted in speaking or thinking can indicate a stroke in progress.
Reducing brain injury and minimizing the negative outcomes of a stroke requires getting to an emergency room right away. For ischemic strokes that are caused by blood clots, a special drug that dissolves clots can be administered to reduce the amount of damage to the brain. Some hospitals only use this treatment within a 3-hour time frame after the onset of symptoms, although some may give it for a longer period after symptom begin.