Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson

Posted February 6, 2011

Published in Health

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How to tell if someone has had a stroke -- before it's too late

Read More: prevention, signs, stroke

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This is from one of those widely-circulated emails, you may have already seen it, but it's valuable (and accurate) information.

We've probably all heard something like this -- during a BBQ, Jane stumbled and took a little fall.  The hosts offered to call the paramedics, but Jane assured everyone she was fine, she had just tripped because of her new shoes.  She was dusted off, given a new plate of food, and while she appeared a little shaken up, she went on to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital shortly after the barbecue ended, and at 6:00 pm that evening, she had died.

Jane has suffered a stroke at the BBQ.

Had someone at the party known how identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would still be alive. 

Some stroke victims don't die, as Jane did, but are paralyzed or otherwise left in a hopeless condition from a stroke.

But it doesn't have to happen.

That's because neurologists know that if they can treat a stroke victim within three hours, they can often totally reverse the effects of the stroke. The technology is there to completely prevent damage from a stroke.

The trick is getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within three hours, which can be tough.


Always remember the '3' steps... S T R  -- Read and Learn!

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

But a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S * Ask the individual to SMILE. Is their smile balanced and equal?

T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE   (Coherently -- i.e. It is sunny out today.)  Can they repeat a simple sentence clearly?

R* Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.  Do both arms go up equally?

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

Here's another, additional test for stroke:  "Stick out Your Tongue!"

Ask the person to 'stick' out her tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that can also be an indicator that the person has suffered a stroke.

Of course the very best way to avoid a stroke is prevention: adopt and adhere to a low-fat, plant-strong diet, protecting your arteries and veins from being damaged and clogged, which is why a stroke occurs.

But it's important to know how to spot symptoms of a silent stroke: it can mean the difference between life and death.