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How to Identify a Stroke

My dad sent me this, but instead of emailing everyone I know I figured I'd post it here and try to start a meme. Pass it on, folks. This is as important as knowing CPR and the Heimliech manuever.

I've lost count of how many family members I have lost to the slide of multiple strokes. Wink is bouncing between the nursing home and the hospital now, and the prognosis is grim. If you have never lost someone to stroke, take the time to get familiar now. If you have, well, you understand.


During a BBQ a friend stumbled and took a little fall -- she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) and she just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital (at 6 pm, Ingrid passed away).

She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. It only takes a minute to read this - Recognizing a Stroke. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours, he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke--totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours, which is tough.


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

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

1. Ask the individual to SMILE.

2. Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

3. Ask the person to SAY A SIMPLE SENTENCE (coherently).
(example: "It is sunny today.")

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.


(Or, like me, post it to your LJ, and encourage your flist to pass it on.)


aww crap. so every time i drink too much i've had a stroke.

no wonder i have these cognitive problems :)
i have a family history of strokes, so you'd better believe i'd love it if all my real-life friends were familiar with this!

however, the part about completely reversing the effects of the stroke ...i'm not sure that's entirely true. brain cells die every minute the stroke is happening, and you can't bring those back to life. :( the key is to get treated early to stop the damage from spreading to the point where the brain's natural redundancies (and ability to reroute) are eaten up as well. it's not that the damage is reversed, it's that it is prevented! making folks aware of the symptoms so they can get to the ER quickly will help greatly in that regard.

so yeah, i'm gonna post this too. just giving it a day to "space it out" so our mutual LJ-friends don't feel so spammed. ;)
Recovering from strokes is a strange business. True, cell death usually begins to occur once cells have been deprived of oxygen for about ten minutes. However, not all strokes are created equal, and not all strokes completely deprive the cells of oxygen. In addition, there is a lot of duplication in the brain. You can lose thousands of cells and recover completely, or lose just a few hundred key cells and be a vegetable forever. You can get a clot that breaks loose after a while, causing only limited cell death, or you can get one that just stays there and continues to do damage. There are a number of therapies, both physical OT and drug therapies, which can result in complete recovery.

They only work if you get them FAST.

In addition to the immediate loss of physical functions that results from a stroke, that loss of function can cause further problems. In Wink's case, he had three strokes before ever receiving treatment. One of those caused him to lose the ability to swallow, a condition that went undiagnosed for about a week in the hospital. That difficulty in swallowing caused him to aspirate food and drink, which led to pneumonia, which led to further decline, which resulted in him being bedbound and developing bedsores, which became infected. At this point, things aren't good.

So the thing is, recognize the signs early, get to a hospital, and insist on seeing a neurologist. Regardless of how much recovery of function will be possible, getting a stroke diagnosed and treated immediately will infinitely improve the patient's chances.
Heheheheheh. See, I wasted all that time typing when I could have just linked to Snopes. Thanks!

June 2010



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