How to Recognize a Stroke

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. A stroke victim may suffer permanent brain damage when people fail to recognize what's happening. Now, doctors say any bystander can recognize a stroke, simply by asking three questions:

  • ask the individual to smile.
  • ask him or her to raise both arms.
  • ask the person to speak a simple sentence.

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, time lost is brain lost, so waste none of it dithering on a phone in hopes of getting a dispatcher to say "Gee, your friend has had a stroke; you'd best get her to a hospital." Because a new drug ( Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) has been shown to limit disability from strokes caused by clots (ischemic) provided victims receive it within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.

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