“Give Me 5” stroke awareness campaign launched
Actress Morgan Fairchild has teamed up with the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Stroke Association to launch a new campaign designed to raise awareness about the early warning signs of stroke and the critical importance of early treatment.
“With stroke, every minute counts,” said Fairchild, who cared for her mother who suffered a series of debilitating strokes until her death in 1999.
Recognizing that you or someone you are with is having a stroke as soon as symptoms appear can “make the difference between life and death,” added Dr. Ralph Sacco, member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Yet research has shown that most people remain largely unaware of the warning signs of an impending stroke and the need for seek immediate medical attention, even if stroke symptoms subside.
The stroke awareness campaign focuses on getting people to remember the catch phase “Give Me 5: Walk, Talk, Reach, See, Feel,” which offers a quick check list of signs of stroke:
* Walk - Is their balance off?
* Talk - Is their speech slurred or face droopy?
* Reach - Is one side weak or numb?
* See - Is their vision all or partly lost?
* Feel - Is their headache severe?
The campaign urges people to call 9-1-1 at the first sign of a stroke and to say to the operator, paramedic, triage nurse or emergency physician: “I think this is a stroke” about themselves or someone they are with.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts, starving the brain of blood and oxygen.
Dr. Diana Fite, an emergency physician from Houston who is involved in the new campaign suffered a stroke in 2006 at age of 53, and thanks to prompt medical attention, has since made a full recovery.
“I was driving when the right side of my body suddenly felt weak,” Fite said in a statement. “I realized it was a stroke when the car started to swerve. Because I am an emergency physician, I knew to call 9-1-1 to get help immediately, which is why I made such a great recovery. But I know from my experience as a doctor that too many people ignore stroke symptoms or wait for them to go away, with tragic results. ‘Give Me 5’ is a great tool for people to identify a stroke quickly and get help fast,” Fite added.
The campaign coincides with new research released in February showing a tripling in the rate of strokes among middle-aged women, the campaign’s targeted audience.
For more information about stroke signs and what to do about them, the public is encouraged to call toll-free 1-888-4STROKE or visit the web site http://www.giveme5forstroke.org.
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