Recognizing Signs of a Stroke

A stroke is a blood clot in the brain, and it can cause death or permanent damage. We encourage everyone to know the signs of a stroke, because fast action is essential in order to save yourself or others from death or damage.

Here is a brief story that illustrates how subtle a stroke can be and how easy it is not to recognize it. During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall. Friends offered to call paramedics, but she assured them she was fine, that she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. She appeared a bit shaken but went about enjoying herself the rest of the afternoon. Her husband called friends later to say that his wife had been taken to the hospital and had passed away. She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, this woman would likely be with us today. And, some stroke victims don’t die ? if treated too late, they can end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within three hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke . . . totally! He said the trick was having a stroke recognized, diagnosed and then treated with the proper medical care within three hours, which is very tough to do.

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, this lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Memorize the ?3 Steps,? based on the first three letters of the word ?stroke?. Heart doctors now say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking the person three simple questions:

S = Ask him or her to SMILE.
T = Ask him or her to TALK. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence coherently, such as, ?It is sunny out today.?
R = Ask him or her to RAISE both arms.

If he or she has trouble with any one of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

A fourth sign of a stroke is a crooked tongue. Ask the person to stick out his or her tongue. If the tongue is crooked ? if it goes to one side or the other ? this is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who reads this shares it with ten people, you can be sure at least one life will be saved.

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