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Identify Stroke Email - Three Simple Questions

Email forward claims that you can help identify a stroke
by asking the victim three simple questions.

(Submitted, April 2005)

RECOGNIZING A STROKE - A true story            

Susie is recouping at an incredible pace for someone with a massive stroke all because Sherry saw Susie stumble - -that is the key that isn't mentioned below - and then she asked Susie the 3 questions.

So simple - - this literally saved Susie's life - -

Some angel sent it to Suzie's friend and they did just what it said to do. Suzie failed all three so 911 was called. Even though she had normal blood pressure readings and did not appear to be a stroke as she could converse to some extent with the Paramedics they took her to the hospital right away. Thank God for the sense to remember the 3 steps!

Read and Learn!
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer 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:

1. Ask the individual to SMILE.
2. Ask him/her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
3. Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE
    (Coherently) (i.e. It is sunny out today)

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that at least one life will be saved.







1. 要求病患展示笑容
2. 要求病患兩隻手都舉起來
3. 要求病患說出一句簡單完整的話





The procedure for identifying a stroke that is outlined in this email forward is valid. According to information available on the American Stroke Association's website, the three questions outlined in the email are a medically viable method for a layperson to ascertain if a person is presenting with stroke symptoms.

The procedure was originally outlined in a report to the American Stroke Association's 28th International Stroke Conference. The report states that a bystander may be able to spot someone having a stroke by giving the person a simple, quick test to see if they can smile, raise both arms and keep them up, and speak a simple sentence coherently...

Certainly, the core information in the email is worth heeding. Knowing how to conduct this simple test could indeed save a person's life. The aforementioned report explains that if bystanders can relay results of this test to an emergency dispatcher, it could speed treatment to stroke patients. Time is crucial in treating stroke.

America's National Stroke Association lists the following as common symptoms of stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Given this list of symptoms, it is easy to see how the simple three-question test could help identify a stroke.

While the central information in the email is true, it appears that someone has seen fit to embellish the story by adding a description of an alleged incident in which the diagnostic test was used to good effect. However, there is no way of telling if "Susie" and "Sherry" are real people or just fictional characters designed to emphasize the information and add a folksy element to the message. Interestingly, the sentence, "A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that at least one life will be saved" is lifted verbatim from a hoax email that outlines a dubious "cough CPR" procedure for heart attack victims. Notably, earlier versions of the email did not include the "Susie and Sherry" story.

In any case, such embellishments are completely unnecessary and detract from the underlying message. A problem with email forwards is that the core information tends to become garbled or diluted as various individuals decide to add to or modify the message as it travels through cyberspace. For example, the current version implies that stumbling is potentially a key element in diagnosing a stroke. However, there is nothing about stumbling mentioned in the Stroke Association report. Although the NSA does identify loss of balance and difficulty walking as potential stroke symptoms, stumbling alone is hardly a valid indicator of an impending stroke.

This unfortunate tendency for messages to mutate as they travel means that it may not always be a good idea to pass on even those rare email forwards that contain factual and verifiable information. However, if you do decide to forward this email, I would suggest that you first remove the superfluous information it contains. I think it would also be a good idea to add a link to the original source so that recipients can check the information for themselves. The link to the American Stroke Association report is included below:

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen