Save a person’s life: the fourth sign of a stroke

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Thanks for sharing this.

We had a scare with a family friend a few years back. It turned out that he was suffering from a combination of mild heat exhaustion and being too high. His behavior was very similar to a stroke victim, but he was able to stick his tongue out, and eventually was able to respond to us.

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Something useful.


Great info. I’ll have to do some research to see if the tongue would help to differentiate between stroke and Bell’s Palsy. They are very similar in their symptoms.

My uncle was hit with Bell’s Palsy a few years ago and on the surface, it looks exactly like a stroke - drooping face, slurred speech. Difference of course is one is an internal hemorrhage which the other is damage to the facial nerves.

Also, just so this thread doesn’t get too heavy…but Heavy Metal! \m/ \m/


Man, they’re marketing this wrong. STR, plus, y’know, T now too. But really, it should be:
S - Smile
T - Talk
A - Arms
T - Tongue
Be stroke smart: STAT!
Speed is key with stroke, so check these symptoms fast and call 911 if someone is acting odd and can’t pass these four quick tests.


Snopes says sticking the tongue out is not a very reliable measure. Drop it and use the first three.

Is there an equally quick and handy list of things a person can do to help prevent ever having a stroke in the first place?


O = oral

Ask them to smile also works well, particularly if you’re wanting confirmation from someone who isn’t talking - it goes all lopsided when they try.

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Basically the same list of things that your Doc would tell you to do in order to stay healthy…
Some of the big (somewhat controllable) stroke risk factors include: smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, etc.


Use what most Paramedics and stroke centers use - the Cincinatti Stroke Scale


Facial Droop
Arm Drift
Slurred Speech
Time - is of the essence

from one study (of 100 people, so not a huge N, but…)

“For facial weakness, the sensitivity of the participants’ assessments
was 74% andthe specificity was 94%. For arm weakness, the sensitivity
was 97% andthe specificity was 72%. For speech deficits, the sensitivity
was 96% andthe specificity was 96%.”

The assessors in the study were untrained laypeople.


I have had two eschemic strokes. My doctor has prescribed a daily aspirin regimen of the 81mg variety. Good for the heart as well.


…but not the sort of thing you want to try without personally consulting a physician. Aspirin’s potential negatives are substantial.

My recent Red Cross First Aid / CPR course also taught the FAST criteria - for Arms, have them raise both arms, because often in a stroke, one side might not work (or they might not be able to control one even if they can lift it.)

The biggest things you can do to prevent stroke are to get at least occasional physical checkups, and make sure your blood pressure isn’t too high. For mild levels of high blood pressure, the medicines don’t have serious side effects and are really inexpensive (e.g. $5/month), so don’t just say “Oh, I exercise and don’t use too much salt” - take them. For seriously high blood pressure, go listen to some of Penn Jillette’s videos from the past year about having extreme numbers (over 200!), taking as many as six medicines at a time, losing 100 pounds in a hurry because his doctor got him too.

If you have sleep apnea, that’s also a potential stroke and heart attack risk. I used to snore loudly when I was young and thin, and when I got older and fatter I started getting some apnea problems as well. CPAP machines are a bit annoying, but not that bad, and having my wife shake me to stop my snoring several times a night had been annoying too :slight_smile: There are other alternatives (some people are helped by mild surgery on the nose or throat, or by dental appliances that prop your mouth open at night, Pro-Vent nose strips do a partial job but are better than nothing.)

I’d rant just as much about blood sugar, but mine’s always been amazingly normal, and as a vegetarian, my cholesterol’s low, but my blood pressure has been at least mildly high since high school.

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