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Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Recognizing a Life-Threatening Stroke

The following is in part an email I received from my friend Carrie and I thank her for this "Pass-Along" of some very valuable information.

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 SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (ie . It is sunny out today)

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

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.

My nephew, Ian Leber, an ER doctor adds the following:
"The facts are that if a person presents within 3 hrs of the onset of symptoms, they MAY be eligible (depending on type of stroke, medical history, blood pressure and symptoms) for “clot busting medicine”. This can sometimes (about 30% of the time) reverse the symptoms, however it is not without risk. There is about a 10% chance of bleeding in the brain when giving this medicine and this can be fatal.
The most important thing anyone can do is get to the hospital IMMEDIATELY if they have any of the above symptoms. Even if the symptoms go away in a short period of time (known as a TIA-transient ischemic attack, or “mini-stroke”), it can still be a warning sign of an impending stroke. I believe that 30-50% of people who experience TIA’s can go on to have a full stroke within 30 days if they are not treated."

For more information go to these sites:


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