Advocates Raise Stroke Awareness at State House

State House, Boston – map

Yesterday, March 31st, stroke survivors, their families, and stroke-prevention advocates from across Massachusetts gathered at the State House to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of stroke, and to advocate for funding of programs that work to educate medical professionals about stroke treatment and prevention.

Rep. Garry and Sen. Montigny speak to a gathering of stroke-prevention and treatment advocates in the Senate Press Room at the State House.

At a gathering in the Senate press room, two of my colleagues, Representative Colleen Garry of Dracut and Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford, shared how they have experienced their own loved ones falling  victim to strokes. They expressed optimism about the level of awareness that the public has of stroke symptoms, but both stressed that we can do better as a state by ensuring that EMTs and hospital staff are properly trained and educated.

Please take this as an opportunity to remind yourself of the symptoms of stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If you are experiencing these symptoms, or if you notice someone who is exhibiting these symptoms, please seek medical attention as they could be signs of stroke. The American Heart Association recommends that after seeking medical attention, you check and note the time at which the symptoms appeared. Time is critical in the treatment of stroke, and the administration of a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can significantly reduce long term symptoms and disability if given within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Part of the funding that Rep. Garry and Sen. Montigny were advocating for goes to a program that helps educate EMTs about which emergency rooms have stroke teams that administer tPA. This program is key to ensuring that patients are transported to hospitals where they receive the most effective and timely treatment.

For more information about stroke, its symptoms, and its prevention, please visit the Amercan Heart Association’s webpage.

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