Did I have a stroke?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

In December 2005 I had an abnormal experience, where I felt like my brain was systematically shutting down and I began to loose all control over my muscles. I ended up laying on the floor alone in my rented house for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only 20-30 minutes. I was unable to move, unable to speak or call for help, yet completely aware of what was happening to me yet no idea what it was. The odd thing is that I cannot recall any pain. I remember the first thing I could move was the fingers on my left hand. Slowly the feeling came in my arm up to my shoulder and spread both up towards my head and down towards my feet.Eventually I regained all sensation and control over my body but I was left with a numb patch on the left side of my head that felt like it wasn't there at all. I lost a lot of my memory, which is still coming back today, and the simplest of tasks were very hard for me. I am now 29 years old. Was this a stroke I had?

Expert Answers

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

Anytime a sudden episode such as that occurs, the three things that come to my mind are 1) Stroke, 2) Seizure, 3) Migraine (not the same as a headache). Of those, the most dangerous would be stroke. At a minimum, you should check in with your doctor (soon) for a physical exam and likely some basic tests, including imaging of your brain and arteries, heart tests, and blood samples. A stroke to the artery in the back of your brain (basilar artery) could cause such symptoms. Another possibility was that you suffered a basilar migraine, where inflammation and spasm of the basilar artery would mimic a stroke. A seizure is less likely since you remember the episode, as you would not be expected to have a memory of such a notable seizure.

I hope that helps.

Community Answers

Ceetrek answered...

despite that i lost memory of my childhood and found simple things very hard? sorry to be a pain, but it is important to know what i've been through so i can take care in the future.