March 9, 2008

Recognise a Stroke

Filed under: — Peter Laws @ 10:33 pm

A stroke is not necessarily a major event, and may not be recognisable as a stroke – it may only result in someone stumbling or having a moment of blankness akin to an absent Seizure. However, it is vital to treat a stroke quickly, if possible within 3 hours.


The first three letters of “Stroke”, STR, provide a mnemonic for diagnosis. If you suspect that someone may have suffered a stroke or even a seizure, ask them to do the following:

  • S is for “Smile” – Ask the individual to SMILE
  • T is for “Talk” – Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
  • R is for “Raise both arms” – Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS


If they have problems with any of these activities, or if they are unable to coordinate their limbs normally, ring an ambulance immediately. You may save their life. FAST

The other mnemonic you can use is to act “FAST”:

  • Facial numbness or weakness.
  • Arm numbness or weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Time to call an ambulance!

NOTE: Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his tongue.. If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 000 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

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