There's a flurry of viral e-mails this morning about a new way to recognize when someone has had a stroke, so we thought we'd share both the traditional warning signs, and the new approach.
The American Stroke Association  reminds you stroke can happen to any one, at any age. The signs of stroke may include:
- 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
The new recommendations suggest that you remember the first 3 letters of "STROKE" and ask the person to: Smile, Talk, and Raise both arms. Then ask them to stick out their tongue.
- If they can't Smile, or their smile is one-sided, it's a sign of weakness in the face;
- If they can't Talk, or speak a simple, coherent sentence, it's a sign of confusion or difficulty speaking; and
- If they can't Raise both arms, it's a sign of weakness or loss of coordination.
- Their tongue may go to one side or the other, also a sign of sudden, one-sided muscle weakness.
If any of these signs is present, call 9-1-1, and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. Time is of the essence in reversing or arresting the symptoms of stroke - within a 3-hour window, clot-busting drugs can be effective.
Robin Swift, MPH
Health Programs Director
Clergy Health Initiative