Recognizing Stroke

Could you recognize if somebody was having a stroke? You probably think that you will NEVER need to know this! I guess that knowing this information is sort of like the need to know how to do CPR. It is good to know how to do it but chances are remote that you would actually ever use it.

Have you ever received the email forward about how to recognize a stroke? You know; the picture of a bald guy with his head tilted back.  Half of his brain is exposed and it shows him having a stroke.  This email explains how to recognize a stroke.  It is basically a practical way for the people around you to know how to evaluate somebody having a stroke.  Again, like the CPR example, hopefully, you will never need it but you will be prepared in case it does.

Knowing how to recognize a stroke should be part of the school curriculum.  In fact, stroke education should be a mandatory course taught starting in middle school.  More people, especially young people, would benefit from this knowledge.  Kids would gain big time from having this wisdom.  If you look at the BIG picture, later on in life, those kids will become young adults then middle aged parents and finally senior citizens.  Stroke happens at any age; it does not discriminate between races and is seen at any time and in all walks of life.   Being a person that is aware of and could spot when someone is having a stroke would be awesome!

You probably need to have a vision of how having a stroke education class would work but I can see how teaching young kids would only be helpful.  Just think, if more people could identify a stroke there might be less strokes each year.  In the United States we have 750000 strokes per year.  Also, we have 160000 deaths attributed to stroke.  Stroke is the number 1 cause of permanent serious disability and the number 3 cause of death.

I would like to see these and all the other statistics about stroke reduced.  Recognizing stroke starts with you knowing the warning signs for yourself but it also includes knowing when someone else is displaying the symptoms.  Just like CPR, having the education and awareness to recognize a stroke could mean the difference of someone being severely permanently disabled or even dying!

At a minimum, read the forwarded email; even if you have received it at least 10 times and from 10 different people.  Being the only person in a crowd of people watching a downed friend could mean EVERYTHING!


Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify.  Use the FAST chart below as an easy way to help you recognize when someone may be having a stroke.  Unfortunately, the lack of awareness can spell disaster. Every second counts!  The individual may suffer severe brain damage if stroke is not identified and properly treated within 3 hours! 

A bystander can recognize a stroke by asking these three simple questions:


1.  Ask the individual to SMILE.

Is one side of their face drooping?


2.  Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

Can they raise both arms equally?


3.  Ask the person to TALK, to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE.

Can they speak coherently?


If he or she has trouble with any one of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.




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