Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious long term disability for Americans today. Getting help rapidly is key to helping prevent a stroke from causing permanent damage and a new indicator of stroke can help by-standers, family and friends quickly determine if someone is having a stroke.
You can recognize a stroke by asking someone you suspect of having a stroke to stick out their tongue. If the tongue is crooked, if it goes to one side or the other, they may be having a stroke and need to be taken to an emergency room or an emergency number called immediately. By treating stroke within three hours of symptoms appearing, brain damage can be avoided and in many cases the effects of a stroke can be reversed.
Other symptoms of a stroke include:
- A crooked smile – ask the person suspected of having a stroke to smile, look to see if one side droops.
- Difficulty repeating a simple sentence such as “It is sunny out today.”
- Inability to raise both arms.
If he or she has trouble with any one of these simple tasks, call for help immediately and let the dispatcher know you suspect a stroke.
To help remember the symptoms of a stroke and think F.A.S.T. :
Face – uneven
Arm – one arm hanging down
Speech – odd sounding speech
Time – call 911 and get to Emergency Room immediately
To learn more about stroke and stroke recovery visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm .