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
www.giveme5forstroke.org. 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
"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 www.aan.com.
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 www.acep.org.
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 www.strokeassociation.org.
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