Several symptoms may occur for people having a stroke. Symptoms that affect the tongue may provide a quick answer when determining whether someone may be having a life-threatening stroke. Although finding signs in the tongue provides important clues, other signs of a stroke include sudden weakness or numbness in the face or limbs, severe headaches, feelings of confusion, visual problems, dizziness or loss of balance and temporary loss of speech or inability to speak clearly.
Stroke victims often have difficulty understanding words and coming out with the right words they are thinking. A condition called aphasia may affect the ability to talk and occurs with a stroke on the left side of the brain, which controls speech and language. Weakness on the side of the body and in muscles also causes speech problems in stroke victims. Muscles in the tongue, palate and lips may be affected to result in slowed, distorted or slurred speech, according to the American Heart Association. The condition that affects the tongue and other muscles is called dysarthria. Recovering stroke victims may need the help of a speech therapist to regain their speech.
People suspected of having a stroke can be asked to stick their tongue out, advises Disabled World. A tongue that doesn't appear straight, droops or slants to one side instead of coming straight out of the mouth indicates a stroke. Other methods to determine the necessity of immediate medical help for a stroke victim is asking the person to smile or speak a simple sentence. Difficulties with those activities or with raising the arms above the head indicate a stroke.
Stroke victims who have difficulty swallowing may suffer from dysphagia, a condition that impairs the swallowing reflex by disrupting the muscular coordination of the tongue or throat muscles, Healthtree.com explains. Many strokes result in this condition. Difficulty swallowing can lead to other dangerous situations, such as choking or having food particles caught in the lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. A stroke victim may also complain about difficulty eating or not being able to eat at all. Victims may also have difficulty chewing food because the muscles on one side of the mouth are very weak. A lack of feeling on one or both sides of the mouth increases the risk of choking.