Wednesday, 6 May 2009

An Important Subject

How To Recognize A Stroke

Here is a translation of an e-mail I received recently. Especially as many of us have elderly relatives, this could be important:

During a BBQ a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) and 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 pale and shaken up, the rest of the evening passed without incident. The woman's husband called later to say that his wife had been taken to the hospital - a little later she died. She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ - had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke she may have been saved.


----- 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.

RECOGNIZING A STROKE

3 steps. Read and Learn!

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 SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. . It is sunny out today)

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

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I also found these criteria from the American Stroke Association:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don't delay! Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared. It's very important to take immediate action. If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. tPA is the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of stroke within three hours of stroke symptom onset.

A TIA or transient ischemic attack is a "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke. The usual TIA symptoms are the same as those of stroke, only temporary. The short duration of these symptoms and lack of permanent brain injury is the main difference between TIA and stroke.

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I, for one, had no idea how to recognize these signs, nor that time is paramount when seeking treatment. I'm making every effort to commit these steps to memory.

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