Stroke: ‘Early’ symptoms include dysarthria or difficulty speaking


Many people die from a stroke because the brain cannot survive without a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood. Therefore, it’s imperative to treat the medical emergency as soon as possible. Fortunately, some people might experience warning signs in the days leading up to a stroke.

Part of stroke’s life-threatening nature is owed to its ability to strike out of nowhere.

Combined with the lack of oxygen getting to your brain, you end up with a serious medical emergency.

However, a study, published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, shares warning signs of an ischaemic stroke can crop up as “early as seven days” before the attack.

Considered the most common type of stroke, ischaemic strokes are triggered by a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain.

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The research explains that eighty percent of strokes are ischaemic and often preceded by so-called warning stroke or mini stroke.

Warning strokes or mini strokes are common terms used to describe a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). 

A transient ischaemic attack is triggered by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to a part of the brain.

This health problem shows symptoms similar to a stroke but it only lasts a few minutes and doesn’t spur on brain injury.


One of the warning signs of TIA is sudden dysarthria, according to the study.

Dysarthria, better-known as difficulty speaking, occurs when the muscles you use for speech are weak or you have difficulty controlling them.

This sudden warning sign can appear as early as a week before the full-blown medical emergency strikes.

Looking at 2,416 participants, the research team examined those who suffered from an ischaemic stroke.

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In 549 patients, TIAs cropped up before the actual emergency and occurred within the preceding seven days in most cases.

In fact, around 43 percent of the participants with mini strokes experienced the “early” signs at some point during the week leading to the stroke.

Study author Peter M. Rothwell said: “We have known for some time that TIAs are often a precursor to a major stroke.

“What we haven’t been able to determine is how urgently patients must be assessed following a TIA in order to receive the most effective preventive treatment. 

“This study indicates that the timing of a TIA is critical, and the most effective treatments should be initiated within hours of a TIA in order to prevent a major attack.”

How to prevent a stroke

Fortunately, lifestyle tweaks can be very effective at reducing your risk of the medical emergency.

The NHS recommends a low-fat, high-fibre diet, that packs plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. 

You should also keep your salt intake under six grams a day, as the seasoning is a major cause of blood pressure, which is the precursor of strokes.

Furthermore, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol and picking up exercise could also help.




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