Public Service Announcement: Stroke Recognition

A friend from my coffee group sent this about recognizing the signs of a stroke and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I checked it out to make sure it was not another Internet hoax and I’m happy to report it is valid.

If everyone can remember this simple STR procedure, lives could be saved.

Some background –

During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall – she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) …..she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid’s husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been  taken to the hospital – (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a  stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don’t die…. they end up in a  helpless, hopeless condition instead.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke… totally . He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.


Remember these ‘3’ steps:  STR. It’s the first three letters of the word STRoke.

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of situational awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe  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


S * Ask the individual to SMILE.

T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)

       (i.e. It is sunny out today)

R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 999/911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

See References: American Stroke Foundation, Stroke

New Sign of a Stroke ——– Stick out Your Tongue

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.

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Bern Bray
January 23, 2008 11:32 am

Thanks for publishing this Rev.
My mother had sent that to me, and she is the victim of two major strokes. Each time, she did not understand what was happening to her, and now she is living daily with physical disabilities.
Please don’t be afraid to try these tests on persons of any age. A little embarrassment if you are wrong is far, far outweighed by a lifetime of regret if your family or friends are afflicted.

Jeff in Seattle
January 23, 2008 11:34 am

Very interesting info!
How high should they raise their arms?
REPLY: I don’t know for sure, no reference was provided. A typical physician test for a variety of conditions is to raise arms over your head, straight up. I’d go with that.

Evan Jones
January 23, 2008 12:57 pm

I have a good friend who suffered a minor stroke, possibly several. He had also had a heart attack and apparently never noticed.
He had to quit his job, which involved a lot of footwork, and his activities are somewhat restricted, but at least he is not severely handicapped and did not sufffer mental imparement. Nonetheless, he is ill and would have been better off had he been diagnosed earlier.
His symptoms included a sensation of part of his body “falling asleep” (you know, that tingly feeling you get when you sleep on your arm), which is a signal that blood flow is not getting through.
Thanks for posting this, I will take note.
And I am very sorry to hear about your friend; you, yours, and hers have my condolences.

January 23, 2008 3:27 pm

There is an art film nearing the end of its run, the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Very, very sobering. Without giving away the plot, a stroke is a key element. STR (so that you don’t have to deal with “ABC” later, on someone who is in an imminently life threatening scenario).

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