Austinite creates aid to help Hispanics look for stroke signs

The “AHORA” mnemonic device is meant to help Spanish speakers remember stroke signs to look out for.

AUSTIN, Texas — With strokes being the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, one Austinite is hoping to spread the word of common symptoms.

Nurse and cardiovascular disease and stroke community educator Maricela Wilson created the mnemonic device “AHORA,” meaning “now,” to help Spanish speakers easily remember stroke warning signs.

“‘Andar’ means to walk,” said Wilson. “So, a lot of times they start walking, like if they were drunk, you know, just because one of their legs is weak. The ‘H’ is for ‘hablar’ [talk], so they could be talking and all of a sudden they start to stutter and they talk like this,” Wilson said while slurring her words. “‘O’ is ‘ojos’ [eyes] because a stroke will affect one side of your body. That one side either you see double vision, blurred vision, or you can’t see anything out of your eye.”

“‘R’ is for ‘rostro’ [face] because the face tends to droop. ‘A’ is for arms and legs because of the difficulty to lift them.”

This idea was inspired by “BE FAST,” the mnemonic device for English speakers, to help them remember signs of a stroke.

Wilson’s husband, David Wilson, is proud of how quickly his wife’s mnemonic device has spread.

“It’s been exciting to sit back,” said David. “You can, you know, pull up on the internet and see which communities have already adopted it and kind of how it’s spreading across the country at this point.”

They hope more people continue to adopt it because knowing what signs to look out for can save a life. 

“Getting the education out there and recognizing it as a stroke, instead of saying go, go take a nap,” said Wilson.

Wilson stresses that during a stroke it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. If it isn’t caught early, the person can sustain significant brain damage. 

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