warning signs of stroke - headache

What the victim might feel:

“My wife gets headaches but I don’t. This one felt like I had been struck by lightning. It was so strong it made me nauseated and lying down only made it worse.”

What the observer might see:

“He was holding his head and looked in agony. I tried to get him to lie down, thinking it was just something temporary, but he vomited almost right away. It was so scary, I’d never seen him like this!”

What the Healthcare Professional might say:

“The gentleman was prone when we arrived and experiencing a severe, sudden-onset headache. Further observation and discussion with him led us to suspect stroke and we transported him to Emergency right away.”

Not all individuals experience the same signs of stroke, or experience them in the same way. Stroke signs usually appear suddenly and without warning, and they may not last for a long time, so knowing the signs helps you recognize and react quickly. You may not be aware you are having a stroke unless you know these signs. A sudden severe headache, often described as ‘unlike any headache I’ve experienced before’ is one of the five warning signs of stroke. On its own, a severe headache can be an indicator, but when accompanied by other signs including vision problems, dizziness, trouble speaking and weakness, the likelihood of stroke is strong.

A stroke is a medical emergency. It deprives the brain of oxygen-carrying blood, which kills brain cells at an alarming rate. Every minute is critical. Learning to recognize the signs of stroke may save a life – it could be yours, or someone you love. Call 911 immediately. Medical attention can lead to better chances of survival and recovery.