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Stroke symptom
jeniwren68 posted:
I was at work the other day and was walking past the therapy room and I smelled burnt toast. I made the comment to a therapist I know and said 'You guys burnt the toast huh?' Her eyes got big and she said 'No, we didn't, do you smell burnt toast?' And I said yes. She dragged me in the therapy room and they got excited because one of the therapist said that she had just read a study that found some stroke victims had smelled burnt toast prior to having a stroke. They made me take my vitals ect. My vitals were good and I was not having any other symptoms. So I have not been able to find anything on that. Is it true that some stroke victims prior to their stroke have smelled burnt toast?
Richard C Senelick, MD responded:
Not true at all. You can relax. However, it is not unusual to have distortions in both smell and taste after a stroke or brain injury. These usually improve over time. Are you having any other problems with taste or smell? Sometimes new medicines, particularly heart medicines can cause disturbances in taste.

There is a RARE situation where people have spontaneous unusual and unplesant smells. These are call "uncinate" spells and can be a form of epilepsy. I want to emphasize that this a rare situation . If your episodes continue then you should be evaluated by a neurologist, just to be sure you do not need to places on medications.

Let's hope you start to smell chocolate chip cookies baking in the gym.

Good Luck
After your stroke you may be experiencing a new normal, but remember what George Eliot said- It is never too late to be what you might have been. You still can achieve new goals.
rikkymeirs responded:
Unfortunately, I'm not a doctor... But this article about stroke symptoms may help you anything:
Be healthful!)
steveineaston responded:
My experience...

I woke up at 2:15 in the morning on a business trip, with the specific smell of toast (not quite burnt). Once I cleared my head, and the smell was still there, I looked at sites like this, and freaked out. Once the gift shop opened in the morning, I purchased aspirin, popped one, went on to perform my tasks that day, and then I flew home.

Once home, I sheepishly told my wife (a MD), who said I should tell my PCP. Spoke to him, and he referred me to a neurologist. Neurologist tested me, and wanted me to have carotid duplex ultrasound (neck) and MRI to rule out carotid stenosis or prior seizure.

Ultrasound showed significant carotid stenosis, (MRI showed a minor history of a TIA). Saw a cardio-vascular surgeon who recommended a CTA; that subsequent study showed 95% blockage /- 4% on my left side, and confirmed about 50% blockage on my right side.

Surgery was scheduled, and a cardiac stress test cleared me of other blockages. Ended up having a carotid endarterectomy, and I'm feeling great now.

So, the smell of toast for me was either a symptom, or a stroke of good luck.

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Richard C. Senelick M.D. is a physician specializing in both neurology and the subspecialty of neurorehabilitation. He did his undergraduate and medic...More

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