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How to Recognize a Stroke

This might be a lifesaver if you can remember the following advice, says Silver Spring Chiropractor Dr. Steven Horwitz.

Each year an estimated 600,000 Americans experience strokes - interruptions of the blood supply to any part of the brain, resulting in damaged brain tissue. Of these victims, 160,000 die, making stroke the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Those persons this dread killer does not immediately send to the grave are often left with lifelong debilitating infirmities of speech, movement, and even thought.

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 (does her face look a little bit uneven)
Ask him or her to raise both arms (does one arm drift down)
Ask the person to speak a simple sentence (is her speech coming out kind of strangely)
Then it's time, time to call 9-1-1.

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately, and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. Researchers are urging the general public to learn to ask these three questions quickly, to someone they suspect of having a stroke. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of a stroke, and prevent permanent brain damage.