‘Severe’ headache that comes on ‘for no reason’ could precede a stroke

Advert warns to act FAST when you see signs of a stroke

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A stroke is a life-threatening emergency. It occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. As it requires immediate medical attention, it is vital the signs are noticed as soon as possible.

There are two main types of stroke, an ischaemic and a haemorrhagic.

An ischaemic stroke is much more common, accounting for around 85 percent of all cases.

It is caused by a blood clot blocking the blood supply.

Whereas haemorrhagic strokes are caused by a blood vessel bursting.

In both cases a headache can indicate someone is about to experience a stroke.

However, a “severe” headache that comes on “for no reason” is more often a warning sign of a haemorrhagic stroke.

Doctor Joseph Ambani, from GlowBar, explained: “A stroke can begin from the carotid artery- the neck area that allows blood flow to the brain, which may lead to a severe forehead headache.

“You can differentiate this kind of headache by paying attention to other sensations like vision. You may lose the sense of touch or vision on one or both eyes.”

If someone experiences these symptoms combined with other signs of a stroke, such as a drooping face it is time to call 999.

According to the Premier Neurology Centre, up to 65 percent of patients could experience a headache prior to a stroke.

It says: “People describe a stroke-related headache as a very severe headache that comes on within seconds or minutes.

“Oftentimes, the area affected by the headache is directly related to where the stroke occurs.

“For example, a blocked carotid artery can cause a headache on the forehead, while a blockage towards the back of the brain can cause a headache towards the back of the head.

“This ultimately means that there is not one headache location that signals a stroke, since they can occur anywhere on the head.”

It warns that a migraine will produce sensations like auras, flashing lights, or tingling skin.

“While a stroke-related headache causes sensations to be lost, such as a loss of vision or feeling,” it says.


The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST.

Face – The face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms – The person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – Their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.

Time – It’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

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