A stroke is a medical condition where part of the brain suffers from a lack of blood flow & oxygen. Stroke can lead to severe disability and or death. A stroke is a true medical emergency in that a LOT can be done to reduce and even reverse the brain damage, but time is critical. Stroke victims need to be seen in a high-level hospital facility within 3 hours, in order to optimise the outcome. Time can mean the difference between life and death, normal functioning and severe disability.

One of the challenges is to recognise a stroke and because the signs can be subtle, it is not always simple. One useful approach is based on the first three letters of the word stroke. If you think someone might be having a stroke ask them to:

  • S – smile. If the smile is not even and symmetrical, be worried.
  • T – talk. If the person cannot say a simple short sentence (e.g. I like chicken soup) clearly, be worried.
  • R – raise both arms. If the person cannot raise both arms fully, be worried.

Remembering these simple signs could help you save a life, or a quality life, one day.