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May 28, 2008

Stroke Symptoms

My grandfather died after suffering a series of strokes.

He was a chemist. I was still a little girl when he passed away, but I vividly remember how heartbreaking it was to watch this highly intelligent man struggle to do the simplest things. Even talking, or doing something as easy as bringing a spoon up to his mouth took incredible concentration. I remember watching him and feeling so helpless because he needed to do things himself and there was no way to make it easier.

My Dad told me the other day that stroke treatment has improved so much these days that doctors are able to do amazing things if they can get to patients in time. He heard about a local case where the victim was brought in right away with a massive debilitating stroke that had caused a total loss of speech and mobility to one side of the body. The doctor was able to inject the patient with an anticoagulant that dissolved the blood clot instantaneously. The effect was nearly miraculous: right before their eyes, the sagging half of the patient's body lifted and he regained the ability to speak.

The key was that his daughter recognized the early signs of a stroke and called an ambulance right away. She was able to get her father to the emergency room within 20 minutes. So I thought I'd pass this along to you all.

Many people suffer from migraines (as I do) and one thing that isn't commonly known is that migraine sufferers are at an increased risk for strokes later in life. So keep this in your back pocket. You never know - it might come in handy some day for you, or someone in your family:

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 then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.


Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR . Read and Learn!

Sometimes 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:

S * Ask the individual to SMILE.

T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today)

R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 999/911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other , that is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

Posted by Cassandra at May 28, 2008 07:58 AM

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My family also has a history of migraine and stroke. Here are the warning signs from the American Heart Association website:

"Stroke Warning Signs
The American Stroke Association says these are the warning signs of stroke:

* 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! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical services (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent for you. 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."

This and other information can be found at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3053#Heart_Attack

Posted by: fmr_grunt at May 28, 2008 09:11 AM

A friend of mine some time ago told me a story about sitting at a boyfriend's dinner table and as things were winding down the icecream hit the table and the father asked if someone would pass the cake.

"you mean the icecream..."

"yes, the... cake" and he pointed to it, puzzled.

Fortunately my friend was in nursing school at the time and, well, knew to call 911 immediately and what could be done in the meantime (the details of which I've unfortunately forgotten.)

It's stood out sharply in my mind for about 15 years.

Posted by: Mike Wilson at May 28, 2008 03:00 PM

It's kind of funny.

One of the ways I know that I am going to get a really bad migraine is that I will find myself using the wrong word. Even though nothing is hurting yet, it's as though signals are getting scrambled in my brain. I don't get the auras or anything, but I have noticed that.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 28, 2008 03:03 PM

My Mom used to work for a company that made an oxygenated flourocarbon liquid. This would be pumped into the brain, replacing the normal cerebrospinal fluid, and provide oxygen to the areas that were blocked off by a stroke. Meanwhile doctors would deal with the clot.

Posted by: DensityDuck at June 6, 2008 05:41 PM