Do you know how to tell if someone (including yourself) is having a stroke?  The sooner you recognize the signs, the sooner the victim can get help and expect a full-recovery. The problem is, many times symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe 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, which you can remember by the acronym “STRT”:

1* Ask the individual to SMILE.

2* Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) , such as, “It is sunny out today.”

3* Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

4* Stick out his/her TONGUE, according to one study. If the tongue is ‘crooked’ (if it goes to one side or the other) that could be an indication of a stroke.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die. It is the number three cause of death in the United States, behind diseases of the heart and cancer, according to the American Stroke Association.

Everyone should take a moment out of their day to review the warning signs of a stroke from the American Stroke Association. It could save your life or the life of a friend/loved one.

*Doctor is Latin for teacher…be a great doctor and teach this to all of your patients*

Stay happy and stay healthy,

Dr. Charles