Inability to smile is one of the ‘first’ warning signs of stroke

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Strokes are an emergency that need immediate medical attention. They are caused by blood supply to the brain being cut off, usually due to a clot. Therefore, spotting the signs as soon as possible could help save someone’s life.

One expert spoke with to explain more.

Founder of The Live In Care Company, Luca Rado, said: “The reason it is important to spot a stroke as early as possible is that treatment, if given quickly, is very effective in mitigating its effects.

“A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

“This can be of different levels of severity and therefore, the damage that a stroke causes will differ from case to case.”

Signs of a stroke

One of the “first” signs of a stroke can be an inability to smile.

She said: “Current research indicates that the first sign of a stroke is when the face drops on one side or the person may not be able to smile.

“Secondly, the person may not be able to lift one or both arms and keep them up.

“Thirdly, the person may start developing difficulties when speaking which can cause them to slur their words and also might not be able to understand what you are saying to them.

“If you suddenly notice a change in someone’s behaviour and ability to carry out regular actions, look out for these three signs to determine whether it may be caused by a stroke.”

If you notice these symptoms, it is time to call 999.

Types of stroke

Strokes can be caused by different things.

“There are two main types of stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic,” Ms Rado said.

“Most strokes are ischemic and happen when blood to the brain is blocked by clots or other particles.

“A hemorrhagic stroke is when a brain artery leaks or ruptures.”


Stroke survivors often need help to regain some of their usual bodily functions.

Ms Rado added: “Depending on the severity of the stroke, quite often afterwards, there will be a period of time when someone needs to go through rehabilitation.

“Rehabilitation depends on how the person has been affected by the stroke, the type and quality of rehab given and the person who has suffered the stroke.

“It usually includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, psychological input and specialist nurses and doctors.”

Certain conditions can raise your risk of a stroke, including:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • Irregular heart beats (atrial fibrillation)
  • Diabetes.

Therefore, the NHS recommends eating well, exercising regularly, sticking to alcohol guidelines and quitting smoking to lower the risk.

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