Strokes are the third largest cause of deaths in the US, ranking behind cancer and heart disease. Current studies show that about 780,000 people per year suffer a stroke. If you know how to recognize the symptoms, you could dramatically improve or even save someone's life, including your own.

Things You Will Need

Your attention to detail.

Step 1

It is important to get a possible stroke recognized, diagnosed and treated within three hours of the incident.
Step one in recognizing a stroke: Ask the person to SMILE. If the smile is lopsided or looks "off" in any way, call an ambulance.

Step 2

Ask the person to TALK. Have them speak a simple sentence, like "It is sunny out today." If they are incoherent or slur their speech, call an ambulance.

Step 3

Ask them to RAISE THEIR ARMS. If the person has trouble doing any of these tasks, an ambulance should be called immediately.

Step 4

A new indicator is to ask the person to STICK OUT THEIR TONGUE. If the tongue is crooked or goes to one side or the other, call an ambulance immediately. As far as the actionable steps go, this may well be the shortest how-to article I've ever written. The reason for this is that I want you to memorize these steps, the sooner the better. If you find yourself in a situation where someone is having a stroke you can vastly improve their chances of having a normal life after the episode if you remember to follow the steps outlined above. If you feel that you may be having a stroke you can perform all of the steps with the aid of a mirror.

Tips & Warnings

Tip: Some neurologists say that they can totally reverse the effects of a stroke if they see the patient within 3 hours of the incident. If you even have a slight suspicion of stroke, call the ambulance immediately.

Warning: Few people think it could happen to them. Never take a chance with your health or the health of others. Better safe than sorry.