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NINDS Launches Stroke Awareness Video for Hispanics


For release: Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Each year, more than 700,000 Americans have a stroke.  Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S.   The disease also disproportionately affects Hispanics.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hispanics 35-64 years old are 1.3 times more likely to have a stroke than whites in the same age group.  Today, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) released a Spanish video designed to educate Hispanic communities nationwide about stroke prevention and treatment.

“Many Hispanics do not know that they are at risk for stroke, or that they can take steps to prevent the occurrence of stroke,” said Jose Merino, M.D., a staff clinician with the Section on Stroke Diagnostics and Therapeutics at the NINDS, and the video’s featured medical expert.  “They may not recognize the symptoms of stroke, or know that they need to act quickly to get treatment.”

The video, entitled “Ataque cerebral: Conozca los síntomas y actúe a tiempo ,” was developed in partnership with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization and an umbrella for more than 300 affiliated Hispanic-serving organizations nationwide.  The video is part of the NINDS’ ongoing campaign to inform people they can take action to prevent stroke and its potential debilitating effects.

“Stroke disproportionately affects the Hispanic community and stroke prevention must begin with education,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguia.  “NCLR is pleased to engage our national network of affiliates and work with NINDS to raise awareness of stroke and help prevent its devastating affects on Hispanic families across the country.  We look forward to extending the NCLR-NINDS collaboration and working together on future projects to educate the Hispanic community about key health issues.” 

The video provides critical information about stroke prevention and treatment through the compelling, real-life stories of three Hispanic stroke survivors, supported by expert commentary from Dr. Merino and Walter Alfaro, an emergency medical technician.  The video is divided into three, five-minute segments:

  1. Preventing Stroke.  Dr. Merino defines what a stroke is, discusses what factors make it more likely that a stroke will occur, and outlines what can be done to prevent stroke.  Dorita, a stroke survivor, shares the lifestyle changes she made as a result of her stroke in order to prevent the occurrence of a second stroke.
  2. Know the Signs.  The signs or symptoms of stroke are numbness or weakness on one side of the body, trouble speaking, trouble seeing, trouble walking, and sudden severe headache.   Dr. Merino describes the stroke symptoms and explains why it is important for spouses, family members, friends, co-workers, and other bystanders to recognize a stroke.  The segment includes the personal story of Manuel, whose wife recognized the symptoms of a stroke, and got him to the hospital in time for treatment.
  3. Act in Time. Call 911.  The importance of calling 911 when a stroke is suspected is reinforced through a personal story.  Ileana, a stroke survivor, recovered fully because her mother immediately dialed 911, and she arrived at the hospital in time to receive treatment.  Because some Spanish-speakers are not comfortable with their English, Dr. Merino encourages viewers to simply say the word “stroke” when on the phone with the 911 operator.

The NINDS and the NCLR are distributing the video this summer, along with other education materials, to a vast network of promotores de salud (lay health educators) who work within NCLR’s national network of affiliates. The video also will be available to the general public.

“The NINDS is deeply committed to raising awareness among Hispanics about stroke and providing them with the necessary information and resources to help them to lead longer, healthier lives,” said Dr. Merino.  “This video is part of that commitment.  It will help Hispanics understand how to reduce their risk of having a stroke, how to recognize stroke symptoms, and why it is so important to call 911 right away.”

Stroke risk factors include a family history of stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and smoking.

To obtain a single free copy of the video, call toll-free 1-800-352-9424 (ask for a Spanish-speaking information specialist).  Additional information about stroke prevention and treatment and about the NINDS is available at www.ninds.nih.gov.

The NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system.  The NINDS aims to reduce the burden of neurological disease among all Americans.

Last Modified August 7, 2009