National Stroke Association's New Faces of Stroke(SM) Campaign Raises Awareness about the Connection between Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke

A Caregiver Shares Her Story to Educate Others

Sep 12, 2013, 10:00 ET from National Stroke Association


CENTENNIAL, Colo., Sept. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- September is National Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) Awareness Month. Afib is a type of irregular heartbeat that affects more than 2 million people. National Stroke Association has developed a Faces of Stroke(SM) public awareness campaign to educate Americans about the connection between Afib and stroke.

A campaign ambassador is being highlighted throughout September to shed light on caring for a loved one who has Afib. Karen Ballou's late husband Harold lived with Afib for several years before having a stroke.

View the public service announcement.

There is a need for more awareness about Afib and its connection to stroke. Often, Afib has no obvious symptoms, but some patients describe fluttering, racing or pounding sensations in their chests. "While watching TV one night, Harold told me that he was not feeling well," Ballou said, "He said that his chest felt strange, and to me his heartbeat seemed off." Although it can occur at any age, it is most common in older adults, especially those with high blood pressure, heart disease or lung disease.

As one of the major risk factors for stroke, it is important to encourage people to talk with a doctor to determine their risk for Afib as the first step toward diagnosis and stroke prevention. Up to 80 percent of Afib-related strokes can be prevented.

"Karen's story illustrates the important role of family, friends and loved ones in managing risk factors," said Jim Baranski, Chief Executive Officer of National Stroke Association. "Once a person is diagnosed with a condition that increases the risk for stroke, like Afib, members of the care team can help make sure that the proper treatment and management are taking place."

About National Stroke Association

National Stroke 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.

Press Contact: Clair Diones

Video with caption: "National Stroke Association's new Faces of Stroke(SM) Campaign raises awareness about the connection between atrial fibrillation (Afib) and stroke. Campaign ambassador Karen Ballou's late husband Harold lived with Afib for several years before having a stroke." Video available at:

SOURCE National Stroke Association