Text messages can reveal stroke

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When you get a text message that's gibberish, you may think that the sender had a little too much to drink. Or maybe it was autocorrect changing unrecognized words to the closest match.

But Fox 4 Medical Reporter Meryl Lin McKean says incoherent texts can be a sign that the sender is having a stroke. Several cases have occurred around the country, and one was documented in the Archives of Neurology.

A woman texted, "Every where thinging days nighing. Some is where!"

Her husband suspected something was wrong. It turns out she was having a stroke.

Garbled speech has long been recognized as one warning sign of stroke. Now garbled text messages are, too. Doctors call it dystextia.

"We've had people identify something wrong with the patient via an abnormal e-mail, so that's very similar," says Dr. Marilyn Rymer of Saint Luke's Hospital.

The neurologist ays the incoherent text or e-mail might be the only early or small sign of a stroke.

"Sometimes we just get speech involved. I don't know that we've just gotten texting involved, but it could certainly happen," says Dr. Rymer.

With stroke, quick medical treatment is the key to preventing disability and death. So Dr. Rymer says if you get strange text messages with no other explanation, you should call 911.

Even if it turns out not to be a stroke, it could be another medical problem such as low blood sugar or a seizure.

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