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We are not experts! But have tried to provide useful tips here. Please contact your GP, NHS Direct or local outpatients if in any doubt.
STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters....S..T..R..
The following is based on a chain email that has been doing the rounds but is basically correct.
If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously..
Chain email says (may or may not be true!): 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 pmIngrid 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.
It only takes a minute to read this...
Chain email says this - it may or may not be true. 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.
RECOGNIZING A STROKE (this is from the chain email and is true)
Remember the '3' steps, STR . Read and Learn!
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of 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 questions:
S.... Ask the individual to SMILE.
T..... Ask the person to TALKand SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently, e.g. 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 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
New Sign of a Stroke -- Stick out Your Tongue (this may be true but is more subjective and harder to be absolute).
NOTE: 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.
FAST - Strokes
Stroke Association and, I believe, the ambulance service are promoting - FAST
Face - is the Face twisted?
Arms - can the person put Arms above head?
Speech - is Speech slurred?
Time - If any of the above indicate a problem it' Time to dial 999
Heart Attacks - be wary of a hoax email
Cough CPR is a resuscitation technique described in an email that began circulating around 1999, in which by coughing and deep breathing every 2 seconds a person suffering a cardiac arrhythmia immediately before cardiac arrest can supposedly keep conscious until help arrives (or until the person can get to the nearest hospital).
Although the technique is in fact taught to doctors, nurses and paramedics, this widely-circulated email confuses the difference between a "heart attack" and a "cardiac arrest". Cough CPR is intended only for imminent cardiac arrest. The American Heart Association does not endorse cough CPR during a heart attack.
This confusion appears to revolve primarily over the public's failure to discriminate between a heart attack and cardiac arrest. A heart attack occurs when an occlusion (e.g. blood clot) of an artery in the heart slowly causes tissue to die. This can result in chest pain and discomfort, and requires immediate medical attention to resolve the occlusion by emergency surgery or cardiac clot-busting drugs.
"Cardiac arrest" occurs when the heart stops beating, usually due to a heart attack, other prior medical condition or disturbance of the heart's electrical system. "Cough CPR" is intended not for a heart attack, but rather, imminent cardiac arrest, since coughing can increase blood pressure to the brain, preventing the person from fully arresting. Most people cannot identify when they are about to go into cardiac arrest unless they are monitored by an electrocardiogram at a hospital. The American Heart Association only recommends Cough CPR when a patient is monitored by an electrocardiogram with imminent signs of cardiac arrest.
Many experts are deeply concerned that people experiencing a heart attack may attempt to perform Cough CPR before attempting to call for emergency medical assistance first. The action of coughing itself may worsen myocardial ischemia and infarction (i.e. worsen a heart attack) due to the breath holding individuals experience while trying to cough, preventing the inhalation of oxygen.
Probably the best general advice for heart attacks is:
GET PROPER MEDICAL ADVICE & ASSISTANCE ASAP.
Chew and swallow 2 aspirins as an emergency option (subject to other medication and allergies etc) - chewing to ensure the aspirin gets in the system asap. This can stop further clotting of the blood.