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Stroke Symptoms
Photo: Carme Balcells
During a backyard picnic Irene stumbled and took a little fall. She assured everyone she was fine and that she had just tripped over a brick. Her family helped her get cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Irene seemed to be enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

A few hours later Irene’s husband rushed her to the hospital. But she did not live through the night. Irene had suffered a stroke at the picnic, the results of which ended her life. If her family had known how to identify the signs of a stroke, Irene might have recovered.

Sometimes the symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify and stroke victims may suffer permanent brain damage because people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms. They end up dying, or sometimes worse living in a helpless, hopeless condition.

Neurologists today are saying that if a stroke victim can receive medical attention within three hours the effects of the stroke can be totally reversed. The challenge, of course, is recognizing when someone is suffering a stroke and quickly obtaining the appropriate medical care.

Here are three simple ways to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. They are easy to remember because they correspond with the first three letters of the word stroke: STR

S—ask the person to SMILE, then STICK OUT HIS TONGUE. If the tongue is crooked (leans to one side) it is an indication of a stroke.

T—ask the person to TALK. He should be able to coherently say a simple sentence, such as “It is sunny outside today.”

R—ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If the person has trouble with any one of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. If everyone who reads this shares the information with five people we can hope that at least one life will be saved.

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By Brenda Forbes Dickerson. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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