Nov. 9, 2005, 11:33 a.m.

Recognizing Stroke

It is said that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"; if the delay in diagnosing stroke (brain attack) is prevented, quality of life will be better for the patient, or perhaps death is averted (for massive strokes and those affecting vital functions). Yesterday Sonny Catacutan forwarded me the following email message. Read on 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 say a simple sentence coherently.

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

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.