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Save a life: early signs of a stroke


This “chain letter” I actually read

A patient sent me one of those chain letters the other day, this one was different however, I actually read it. The email was a reminder of how to recognize that a person is having a stroke, but what caught my attention was that modern science now has a fourth sign for stroke, the tongue.

Tongue diagnosis is part of acupuncture

Acupuncturists have been looking at tongues for centuries to gather signs about a person’s health. Has modern medicine caught up. I’ll fill you in a bit. Before I do, please familiarize yourself with the signs of a stroke. You may save someone’s life, or the quality of their life.

3 hours can save a stroke victim

Neurologist say that if they can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours, they can usually reverse the effects of a stroke. The trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough because the signs of a stroke are not well recognized.

Stroke is a silent killer

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. The patient usually has no pain, but feels weak and disoriented, so they may just sit quietly hoping the “episode” will pass.

Why people ignore the warning signs

In fact many people who have strokes have had “mini-strokes” where the symptoms did pass, so these warning signs go unheeded. 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.

How to recognize a stroke

Doctors say a you can recognize a stroke by asking the patient to perform STR:

  • S  Ask the individual to SMILE - if the smile is not symmetrical dial 911
  • T  Ask the person to TALK and repeat a simple sentence i.e. It is sunny out today. - If the person is not coherent, dial 911
  • R  Ask him or her to RAISE both arms at the same time - if both arms do not go up at the same time, well you know the drill by now, dial 911.


New sign of a stroke: stick out your tongue

Modern cardiologists have identified a “new” sign of stroke to add to the list. Ask the person to stick out their tongue. If the tongue comes out crooked, the person may be having a stroke.

2000 years looking for crooked tongues

This “new” sign is thousands of years old. Ancient Chinese acupuncturists grouped a crooked tongue as a sign of “wind stroke” along side of facial paralysis. So while I’m temped to file this under “Duh!” It’s always good to see modern medicine confirm acupuncture’s 2,000 years of experience.

Acupuncture can help after a stroke

If you do find somebody with the symptoms of a stroke, by all means get them to an emergency room as fast as you can. After the acute phase has passed, if there are any lingering symptoms, you may want to consider acupuncture to help recovery and rehab.

Here is a short summary about acupuncture for stroke recovery.

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