Thai social media users share false 'warning signs and symptoms of stroke'
Multiple Facebook posts shared in Thailand claim that signs of an ischemic stroke -- caused by a temporary blockage of blood circulation to the brain -- include noticing blood in your phlegm, suffering from chronic headaches and experiencing general body aches. This is false. Thai neurologists told AFP the main signs of a stroke include: experiencing sudden weakness in your arms and legs; paralysis on one side of your face; and loss of speech and balance.
"Blood mixing with phlegm, chronic headache, body aches, are signs of ischemic stroke," reads a Facebook post written in Thai language on September 6, 2022.
An ischemic stroke is caused when blood clots or other particles temporarily block the blood vessels to the brain, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The same claim was shared here, here and here on Facebook, receiving more than one thousand "likes" and dozens of shares.
Comments on the posts indicated some social media users were misled by the claim.
"I have those right now, what should I do?" one user wrote.
"How can I cure them?" another commented.
Thai neurologists, however, told AFP the claim in the posts is false.
'Symptoms that indicate many diseases'
Tassanee Tantirittisak, head of the Neurological Society of Thailand, said the main symptoms of ischemic stroke were suddenly experiencing difficulty speaking and balancing, and weakness on one side of the face.
"To cure a stroke, the doctor may analyse the patient's condition but they can either inject medicine to dissolve the blood clot in the vessel or use a catheter to get rid of the blood clots," she said.
Thanaboon Worakijthamrongchai, a doctor at the Neurological Institute of Thailand, also said the symptoms listed in the false posts were possible symptoms of certain diseases rather than stroke.
"When you have phlegm mixed with blood, it is a problem of your respiratory system, not the circulatory system like stroke," he told AFP. "Headaches and body aches can be caused by stress, flu or lack of sleep. These are symptoms that are not indicative of only one disease."
Thanaboon went on to say the most common symptoms of stroke usually develop suddenly.
These include experiencing difficulty speaking; developing weakness in your arms and legs, and Bell's palsy -- a weakness or paralysis on one side of your face, he said.
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) includes experiencing sudden numbness in your face and arms, and developing slurred speech in its list of stroke symptoms, as shown below:
Certain habits -- including smoking and excessive alcohol intake -- can increase the risk of developing a stroke, according to the NHS.
AFP has previously debunked claims about strokes here, here, here and here.