Saturday, February 10, 2007

Warning Signs of a Stroke

Stroke is a life-or-death emergency in which every minute counts. Learn how to tell if someone may be having a stroke -- you could save a life. Often, stroke isn't treated as an emergency. The problem? One in three Americans can't identify any of the symptoms. That can lead to dangerous delays in getting care. Use this F.A.S.T. action plan to tell if someone may be having a stroke. You could save a life.

Face. Ask the person to smile. A stroke can cause one side of the face to droop. Abrupt dimming of vision or a sudden, severe headache with no known cause is also a warning signs.

Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. If one arm drifts downward, that could signal a stroke, which can trigger weakness, numbness or paralysis of an arm or leg, particularly on one side of the body. Sufferers may also have unexplained loss of balance, or a sudden fall.

Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Stroke victims may slur their words, have trouble speaking or understanding speech, or not be able to talk at all.

Time. If the person has any of these symptoms, call the emergency number. Stroke is a life-or-death emergency in which every minute counts. To have any hope of reversing the effects, a patient must get tPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within three hours, or the Merci Retriever procedure within eight hours. The Merci Retrieval System is the first and only medical device with FDA clearance and CE Mark for the intended use of removing thrombus in acute ischemic stroke patients.For more information on this device, visit the manufacturer's website,, or the National Stroke Association at

Source of this article Reader's Digest

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