I certainly hope so and perhaps they will include the stroke warning signs in their political profiling and typical canned candidate sound bites * in the Valley Breeze because the importance of knowing the stroke warning signs have apparently taken a back seat to politics, at least for “one more week”.
Here’s what Tom Ward, publisher of the Valley Breeze had to say in response to my request to print a PSA (public service announcement) in our local paper about knowing the stroke warning signs.
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“It will not be printed next week. We are hip deep in political stuff for one more week. After that will be fine.”
Thomas V. Ward, publisher
The Valley Breeze
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“I was disappointed to learn that my reply to the recent editorial by Sharon Coyle which appeared in the Breeze on pediatric stroke was not included in your publication this week. I hope that next week you might consider publishing this in the Valley Breeze to help educate readers (especially in Cumberland) about knowing the stroke warning signs. Thank you for considering this request”.
When it is more convenient, or a light coverage week, perhaps I’ll have better luck with the local media. In the meantime, I’ll keep at it*, but you don’t have to wait a week or more for a review because here’s what you should know now:
Learn the FAST test to help identify stroke warning signs .
FAST stands for:
• Face: Ask the person to smile. Do both sides of the mouth elevate equally?
• Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Do both arms lift equally?
• Speech: Ask the person to repeat a sentence. Can they repeat? Are the words slurred?
• Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 or get to the hospital FAST.
It should be pointed out that there’s some controversy about the FAST test. The FAST test is great because it is simple but it leaves out a few more subtle but important signs a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack) or “mini” stroke may have taken place. Here’s a link to a previous post about this controversy if you want to know more…
Know as many signs and symptoms of stroke as possible. Initiating treatment FAST is vital because time saved is neurons saved. Every minute during a stroke an estimated 2 million neurons and 14 billion synapses die. Delays in treatment lead to brain loss which make the road back to recovery more difficult if time is wasted. Never assume the victim is “too young” to possibly be having a stroke. The Coyle’s story from Cumberland as well as the unusually high incidence of stroke in town is proof there are young faces of stroke and regardless of the age, you must LEARN FAST to be able to act FAST to save a life.
*Did you know??
According to the RI State Plan for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (p.25), the goal set by the state is – “By 2012, 18% of Rhode island adults aged 18 and older will know the four warning signs of stroke as described in the FAST campaign, including the importance of calling 9-1-1.” That’s right, 18%! So, if the goal is to get to 18%, I have to ask, where are we now?? Clearly, we are not getting this message and the media is certainly not acting FAST!
Perhaps one of our politicians up for election can start their next sound bite by saying something like ,
”If (re)elected I’ll lower property taxes, fight to reduce state spending, protect social security, and fight for all Rhode Islanders to know the stroke warning signs and act in time to save a life”.
Article by David Dansereau
To read Shorn Coyle’s original letter published in the Valley Breeze go here