Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Signs of a stroke

I received this email from my beautiful & thoughtful daughter, Samantha.  It is one that I've gotten before, but I must be honest and admit that I had forgotten the symptoms.  So I am posting it here to share with ya'll and hopefully you will learn the signs and pass it on to others.  As you may, or may not, know...time lost in a stroke is brain lost.  This is very important and I hope you will take the time to read it.

STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters.... S.T.R.  

My nurse friend sent this and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree.
If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously..

Please read:


During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall, she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) .....she said she had 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 shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die, they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this...

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 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.

So I did some checking around and found this information at the Mayo Clinic web page and thought it would be good to share this with ya'll also.  They say that women are more likely to delay going for treatment and that their symptoms are often different than those of men.

Classic stroke symptoms

Know the classic stroke symptoms:

  • Sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis of your face, arm or leg — usually on one side of your body
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech (aphasia)
  • Sudden blurred, double or decreased vision
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
  • A sudden, severe "bolt out of the blue" headache or an unusual headache, which may be accompanied by a stiff neck, facial pain, pain between your eyes, vomiting or altered consciousness
  • Confusion, or problems with memory, spatial orientation or perception
Stroke symptoms in women

The new research study shows that women may have traditional symptoms less often than men do, and they may be more likely to experience and report an alternative symptom first. This discrepancy may cause women to delay seeking help. A woman coming into the emergency department with facial weakness is quickly sent off for brain imaging, but when the main complaint is shortness of breath or fainting, it may be that neither the woman nor even emergency room personnel immediately suspect a stroke.

In addition to or instead of the traditional stroke signs, a woman may have:

  • Loss of consciousness or fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Falls or accidents
  • Sudden pain in the face, chest, arms or legs
  • Seizure
  • Sudden hiccups
  • Sudden nausea
  • Sudden tiredness
  • Sudden pounding or racing heartbeat (palpitations)

While this new research is important, the traditional stroke warning signs are still the most common symptoms of stroke. The new findings are a helpful reminder — to both you and your doctor — that women may have different symptoms.

Know the warning signs

If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, don't hesitate. Rapid diagnosis and treatment improve your chances of survival and decrease your risk of permanent disability. To help you remember the classic symptoms what to look for, think FAST: face, arms, speech and time.

  • Face — Does one side of the face drop when asked to smile?
  • Arms — When raising both arms, does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech — When trying to repeat a simple sentence, are the words slurred or incorrect?
  • Time — Rush to emergency care immediately to get evaluated and treated.

As more research is done on women and stroke, primary care nurses and doctors are becoming more familiar with the stroke symptoms and signs that are unique to women.

If you're at risk of a stroke, your best defense is to know both the classic signs and symptoms and those that are unique to women. If you have any symptoms you worry might be a stroke, ask your doctor to evaluate you for a stroke.

So take care of yourself and your loved ones.  Believe me, I know all too well the feeling of something being wrong...but yet as a woman we think it's nothing.  On a recent MRI it showed that somewhere along the way I had a "mild infartion".  I'm not too sure what that means, but it sure doesn't sound good. 

Some of the things we (okay I) think and the arguments we should be having against those thoughts:
"It's probably nothing."  --Maybe, but then your not a doctor, let them be the ones to decide if its nothing or perhaps something that may need to be looked at.
"I'll feel foolish if I go in and they say nothings wrong." --Better to look foolish today than to wake up dead tomorrow. 
"We don't have the money for a trip to the ER." --Then you probably can't afford a funeral right now either.
"I'm too young for a heart problem." --No one is too young.  But I bet your kids think their too young to lose a parent.
"I have too much to do and it's probably nothing." --Your right it may be nothing, but what if its something.  If you die then your family will be left to do everything without you.

And you trust your husband to pick out the clothes your going to spend eternity in?  I can't even trust my man to put down the toilet seat much less match a blouse and skirt.  I'm just kidding, but really...please be safe and take care of yourselves.

Have a good day & hugs to all my friends!
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bhbner2him said...

Always good to remind ourselves of these!  Thank you.  -  Barbara

dslapczynski said...

About two weeks before my wedding in '96 I had a bad episode of Bell's Palsy, an illness/syndrome that mimics the effects of a minor stroke. It sucked because all my wedding pictures feature a crooked smile.

True story tho': the day the attack began I was answering phones at my then-current employer. Now I'm not blessed with the greatest voice, it's a bit high, esp. for a guy my size. But I'm on the phone, feeling the attack come on, panicked like you wouldn't believe, drooling out the left side of my rapidly numb mouth, and I answered the phone and gave the usual spiel.

The woman on the phone gave a quick intake of breath, then paused and then spoke:

"I hope you're not offended, and I would never usually say this to someone . . . but you have the sexiest voice I've ever heard."