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A team at Valencia's Polytechnic University in Spain developed an Android app that could tell users if they've experienced a stroke and how to get help. The app is still in its testing stages but could be a game changer in the health field.

Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and leaves many adults with permanent disabilities, according to the Center for Disease Control. Around 795,000 people suffer from a stroke yearly. Of that number, 140,000 people die from the stroke.

Some common stroke symptoms include slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the face and limbs, confusion, a feeling of pins and needles, and a reduced sense of touch.

"Despite the awareness campaigns carried out by different entities, many people are unable to identify the signs of this condition. Smartphones seem to be a good platform on which to develop applications aimed at people's health, such as in this case, to carry out an early detection of a pathology which affects 120,000 people in Spain alone," Jaime Lloret, researcher at the IGIC Institute of the Gandia Campus of the UPV said.

The Spanish scientists' app would serve as a type of checklist for those who think they might've had a stroke. The app would ask users to perform three tasks.

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Users will have to smile for the camera in the smartphone app. If there's facial weakness, they won't be able to smile, and the app will detect it as a stroke symptom.

The app will ask users to repeat a basic sentence. The microphone will listen and determine coherency.

Last, the user will be asked to raise both arms above their head while holding the phone. The phone's accelerometer will be able to tell if one arm is higher than the other.

If the app registers two symptoms of a stroke, emergency services will immediately be called. Users can also enter a trusted contact during setup. When the app calls for help, the user's trusted contact will also be dialed.

Strokes are mostly preventable through lifestyle choices. The CDC offers people tips for healthy eating, maintaining a health weight, staying physically active, not smoking, and not drinking alcohol to excess.

Until the app is released to the public, people can use heart health apps to help with stroke prevention. Heart problems like atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, can lead to a stroke and other complications.

Apps like Cardiio Rhythm (iOS) track heart rates, fitness, and subtle changes in user's facial skin color, a sign of heart rate fluctuation. The app can help in the detection of atrial fibrillation.

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Takeaways

  1. Scientists in Valencia have developed an app to help users test themselves to see if they've experienced a stroke and seek medical help.
  2. The CDC says maintaining a healthy lifestyle can significantly cut down a person's risk of having a stroke.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for Download.com.