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Is it a headache or stroke? Understanding the warning signs

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Posted at 6:31 PM, May 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-15 20:31:02-04

When a person experiences stroke, even a mini-stroke called transient ischemic attack (TIA), every second counts. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize their symptoms and do not receive immediate medical attention.

A common warning sign of stroke or TIA is a severe headache. Although some people may ignore this symptom as a normal occurrence, it is an important one to keep in mind. Stroke headache comes on suddenly and tends to be excruciating.

If you experience a sudden, severe headache along with the onset of the following warning signs, seek medical attention immediately. Remember, stroke is a medical emergency.

-Numbness, weakness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg

-Double vision or blurred vision

-Confusion and memory loss

-Trouble speaking, slurred speech, trouble understanding others

-Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of coordination

Remember FAST

F – Face: Ask the person to smile and look for face drooping

A – Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms and watch for one arm drifting down

S – Speech: Ask the person to repeat a sentence and listen for slurring

T – Time: If any of these signs are observed, call 9-1-1 immediately

If you or someone around you has any of these symptoms, don’t wait! Call 9-1-1 immediately, even if you’re not certain it is a stroke. Acting fast can safe a life.

Davis Hospital and Medical Center, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, Jordan Valley Medical Center, and Pioneer Valley Hospital are offering a $30 Leg Screening and $69 HeartView Screening. Schedule an appointment by calling 866-421-WELL (9355).