Stroke symptoms can vary depending on the site of the stroke in the brain. Effects of stroke can range from mild stroke symptoms to more severe and even death. Many times people will have mild symptoms and several small events before having a major debilitating CVA.
Many migraineurs and headache sufferers worry about stroke when they are having a severe headache. There is reason to worry. Several research studies over the years have confirmed the increased risk of stroke for both migraine with and without aura.
Dr. Marcelo Bigal (well known headache specialist) released a study of 6,000 adults showing a significant increase of stroke. the greatest risk of cardiovascular death was seen in the group of migraine with aura. Heart attacks occured in migraineurs 4% of the time and controls only 2%.
Stroke incidence in this study was 1-1.2% for controls, 2.1% for migraine without aura, and 4% for migraine with aura. This is a 60% increased risk factor. The findings were adjusted for the conditions listed below and for smoking. The percentage is about equal for men and women.
Migraineurs were also significantly more likely to have the following conditions (which are also causes of stroke):
- high cholesterol
Before I go any further, do you know the definition of this problem? It is also called a "brain attack" or "cerebrovascular accident" (CVA). This means that there was an interruption of blood flow to an area of the brain.
Unfortunately, lack of oxygen to the brain causes brain cell death after about 4 minutes. Depending on the area of the brain affected, this can lead to difficulty walking, talking and even trouble swallowing.
Signs Of A Stroke
The signs of a stroke include:
- sudden onset of numbness or weakness on one or both sides of the body
- sudden onset of difficulty speaking, understanding people or confusion
- sudden onset of severe headache, "the worse headache of your life"
- sudden onset of visual problems in one or both eyes
- sudden onset of dizziness, trouble walking or maintaining balance
Sometimes a tranisient ischemic attack can be confused with mild stroke symptoms. There are also different types of stroke. Do you know the early warning signs of stroke?
Stroke symptoms are taken seriously. If you are having any of the above sypmtoms, please get to an emergency room as soon as possible, especially if you have high risk factors. Calling your doctor's office will only cause delay and he or she most probably will tell you to go to the emergency room or call for an ambulance and the delay could be life threatening. Time is important when it comes to stroke treatment. If you delay beyond a certain number of hours, you may not be able to receive the correct medications for your condition.
If you are recovering from a CVA you can read more about stroke treatment.
Bigal, Marcelo and Lipton, Robert. American Migraine and Progression Study, Oct 2009. Obtained online December 15, 2011