Morgan Fairchild Joins Neurologists, Emergency Physicians and the American Stroke Association to Educate the Public About Stroke Symptoms


Mar 26, 2008, 01:00 ET from American Heart Association

    LOS ANGELES, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Actress and activist
 Morgan Fairchild has teamed up with the American Academy of Neurology
 (AAN), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American
 Stroke Association (ASA). She is raising awareness about the warning signs
 of stroke and the importance of getting to the emergency department fast
 with a campaign called "Give Me 5: Walk, Talk, Reach, See, Feel."
     A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients
 to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part
 of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to
 die. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a
 leading cause of disability. However, research shows the public remains
 unaware of its warning signs and the need for immediate medical attention,
 even if the symptoms subside. Those symptoms include sudden difficulty
 walking, talking, reaching and seeing, as well as sudden and severe
     "Saving someone's life - or even your own - may be as simple as
 remembering 'Give Me 5,'" said Ms. Fairchild. "Do not ignore symptoms, and
 do not delay getting to the emergency department. With stroke, every minute
     Ms. Fairchild, star of film, theater and television, was caregiver for
 her mother, who suffered a series of debilitating strokes until her death
 in 1999. Ms. Fairchild will be joined on the campaign by Dr. Diana Fite, an
 emergency physician who suffered a stroke in 2006 at age of 53, and thanks
 to prompt medical attention, has since made a full recovery.
     "I witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of stroke on my
 mother," said Ms. Fairchild. "Stroke is a killer, but for too many people
 it doesn't need to be. If you know the warning signs and get medical help
 right away, you have an excellent chance of making a good recovery. Women
 especially need to know the warning signs, because they account for almost
 70 percent of the deaths from stroke. We are also the health information
 keepers for our families and must spread the word to our siblings, spouses,
 parents and friends about how to recognize a stroke."
     "Give Me 5" offers a quick stroke check using five short words:
     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?
     It goes on to say, "If you recognize the sudden signs of a stroke, call
 9-1-1!" The campaign also urges people to say "I think this is a stroke,"
 about themselves or someone they are with, when speaking with a 911
 operator, paramedic, triage nurse or emergency physician. The campaign
 includes a toll-free phone number, 1-888-4STROKE, and a tri-branded website where the public can obtain more information,
 brochures and a give-away item.
     "I was driving when the right side of my body suddenly felt weak," said
 Dr. Fite of Houston, Texas. "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
     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.
     "This surge of strokes in middle-aged women in a short period is very
 alarming," said Dr. Ralph Sacco, Fellow member of the American Academy of
 Neurology. "The important message of the 'Give Me 5' campaign is early
 identification of stroke symptoms and early intervention by doctors in the
 emergency department. That can make the difference between life and death."
     About American Academy of Neurology
     The American Academy of Neurology, an association of over 21,000
 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving
 patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with
 specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the
 brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, multiple
 sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and stroke. For more information about the
 American Academy of Neurology, visit
     About American College of Emergency Physicians
     ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency
 medicine with more than 25,000 members. ACEP is committed to advancing
 emergency care through continuing education, research and public education.
 Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each
 state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government
 Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military
 branches and other government agencies. For more information about the
 American College of Emergency Physicians, visit
     About American Stroke Association
     The goal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American
 Heart Association, is to reduce disability and death from stroke through
 research, education and advocacy. In its 2006-07 fiscal year, the
 association invested more than $152 million to fight stroke. To learn more,
 call 1-888-4STROKE or visit
     CONTACT: Julie Lloyd of ACEP, +1-202-728-0610, ext. 3010; Angela Babb
 of AAN, +1-651-695-2789; or Toiya Honore of ASA, +1-214-706-1456

SOURCE American Heart Association