Lifehack: Blood clots and strokes

Thursday 16 June 2011, 6.59pm HKT

It takes only a minute to read this…

A stroke is a medical emergency. It can cause permanent neurological damage and death.

The ones who die straight away after a stroke are the lucky ones. Those who survive often are the luckless ones and end up suffering massive complications like whole-body or partial paralysis.

For those who don’t know, ‘stroke’ in Chinese is 中風 (中风 zhòngfēng, literally, ‘to be hit by wind’).

Stroke was previously known medically as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), that is to say, an accident involving the blood vessels in the brain. Disturbance in the blood supply to the brain causes rapid loss of various brain functions. This can be due to two causes:—

  • ischemia (lack of blood flow) caused by blockage such as thrombosis or arterial embolism
  • haemorrhage (leakage of blood)

Stroke is the No. 1 cause of adult disability in the USA and Europe, and the No. 2 cause of death worldwide. Your risk factors for stroke go up with:

  • old age
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • a previous stroke, especially a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • tobacco use (i.e. smoking)
  • atrial fibrillation (AF or A-fib) (心房纖維性顫動), which is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (or abnormal hearth rhythm)

High blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor of stroke.


Remember the these three letters:

S. T. R.

Learn stroke identification — it saves lives.


During a barbecue, Jane stumbled and took a small 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 Jane cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. She appeared a bit shaken up, but Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

The next day, Jane’s husband rang everyone up, saying that his wife had been taken to hospital. Jane passed away at 6pm.

‘Within 3 hours’

Jane in fact had suffered a stroke at the barbecue. Had people known how to identify the signs of a stroke, Jane might have still been with us today.

Some stroke victims don’t die — they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

A neurologist says, if he can get to stroke victim within 3 hours, he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke. Totally. He says the trick is getting a stroke recognised and diagnosed, and then get the patient medically cared for within 3 hours — which is tough.


Stroke symptoms are sometimes hard to identify. Lack of awareness spells disaster. When people nearby fail to recognise the symptoms of a stroke, the stroke victim needlessly continues to suffer severe brain damage.

Bystanders! Simplest way to recognise a stroke is by asking three simple questions:

S. T. R.

S — Ask the individual to smile.

T — Ask the person to talk, i.e. speak a simple sentence (coherently),
e.g. “It is sunny outside today.”

R — Ask the individual to raise both arms.

If the individual has trouble with any one of these tasks, ring emergency immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.


New sign of a stroke — stick out your tongue

Look how the individual sticks out the tongue. If the tongue is ‘crooked’ (if it goes to one side or the other), that is also an indication of a stroke.

Pass this knowledge on

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this knowledge passes it on to 10 other people, you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

I have done my part. Will you?

(via Fred L., 15 June 2011)

* * *


The Naked Listener’s dad took a whole year to die from a stroke. This post was done as a public service.

This is the only stroke you should be having…

The Strokes (band)

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011.

Images: The Strokes (band) via This Place Is A Zoo | Haemorrhagic vs. ischemic strokes via the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital | ‘1 in 6 people’ via World Stroke Campaign.

3 Responses to “Lifehack: Blood clots and strokes”

  1. Guus said

    My grandmother lived for another 2 years after her stroke, but was unable to talk. Looking back, it probably was worse than dying for the talkative person she was.


Comments are closed.

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