National Stroke Association's New Faces of Stroke(SM) Campaign Raises Awareness about the Connection between Atrial Fibrillation
Two Campaign Ambassadors Share their Stories to Educate Others
Colo., Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Stroke
Association has launched a new Faces of Stroke(SM) mini-campaign designed to
educate about the connection between stroke and Afib, a type of irregular
heartbeat that increases risk of stroke by five times. A spin-off of the
Faces of Stroke
flagship public awareness campaign that aims to change the public perceptions
of stroke through sharing personal stories, this mini-campaign honors National
Atrial Fibrillation Month in September.
ambassadors will be highlighted throughout September to shed light on the
real-life experiences of having Afib. Jason Serapiglia, 32, is not a typical Afib patient because
of his young age. It is most common in people over age 60. Pat
Turner, 62, is a two-time stroke survivor with Afib that was not diagnosed
until after she suffered her first stroke. Watch a public service announcement featuring Jason and Pat.
While 2.2 million
Americans have been diagnosed with Afib, there is a need for more awareness
about the condition and its connection to stroke. Often, Afib has no obvious
symptoms, but some patients describe fluttering, racing or pounding sensations
in their chests. "I woke up one morning and was much more aware of my
heartbeat than usual," said Mr. Serapiglia. "It felt out of rhythm,
something difficult to describe but unmistakable when occurring. After three
days, I went to the emergency room. There, I was diagnosed with Afib."
The good news is
that up to 80 percent of Afib-related strokes can be prevented. The Faces of
Stroke and Afib campaign encourages people to become more informed about their
risk by talking with a healthcare professional, particularly if a person
suspects they have an irregular heartbeat. Afib is most common in people with
high blood pressure and heart and lung disease.
The campaign also
offers easy-to-use online tools to share stories about how Afib and stroke have
impacted lives. Jason and Pat's stories illustrate how Afib does not
discriminate against age, and how their very different experiences have led
them to be champions for raising awareness of Afib and stroke.
that patients have the power to influence healthy behaviors through
storytelling," said Jim Baranski, Chief Executive Officer of National
Stroke Association. "You just have to give them the opportunity. Anyone
affected by stroke—no matter the connection—can have a role in raising
awareness by telling their stories and sharing them with people they care
about. Faces of Stroke and Afib is important because it gives us an opportunity
to delve into a focused topic that relates to stroke. Jason, Pat and everyone
else who submits their stories about stroke and Afib are spreading the word at
a granular level about how to avoid stroke. It's amazing and inspiring to have
them be part of this effort."
The Faces of
Stroke campaign features an online gallery of hundreds of stroke champions'
stories and photos. Participants can submit their story online for free and
share it with people in their social networks and via email. Learn more about
the campaign at www.stroke.org/faces.
A stroke is a
brain attack that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel
breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. The first step to prevention
is identifying if you have any controllable and uncontrollable risk factors and
begin to manage them.
Stroke is an emergency.
Treatment may be available if a person reaches the hospital in time.
Recognizing warning signs can be easy if you remember to think FAST:
Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift
Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech
sound slurred or strange?
If you observe any of these signs, then it's time to call
Association is the only national organization in the U.S. that focuses 100
percent of its efforts on stroke by developing compelling education and
programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all
impacted by stroke. Founded in 1984, the organization works every day to meet
its mission to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke.