National Emergency Medicine Assoc. (NEMA)


Stroke published by the National Stroke Council, a special program of National Emergency Medicine Association

Volume 4 Issue 1 Summer 1997

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Americans are famous for being trendy and following fads- any fad as long as it’s new. Even health issues sometimes catch on and become the accepted behavior of the day. Back in the 1970’s, there was a campaign to educate the American public about the unnecessarily high rate of stroke deaths and it’s connection to high blood pressure. People quickly joined the prevention trend. They learned what they could do to change their life in ways that would help prevent stroke and they did it.

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The result of joining the stroke prevention fad was a significant decrease in the number of stroke deaths, from 100 per 1,000 in the 1970"s to about 40 in the mid-1980’s. The stroke death rate for women was cut in half.

But a new trend has leveled off this decrease and stroke deaths are increasing again. The first campaign stressed the connection between high-blood pressure and stroke. Now we talk about blood cholesterol and fat grams. Consequently, we have lost the public awareness of the critical need to control our blood pressure levels. At the same time, there has been a dramatic increase in the cost of the newer blood pressure medications. Older drugs were typically about 1 cents per pill, newer drugs can be as much as $1.50 per pill, sometimes taken twice a day. Many patients, especially seniors on limited income, abandon their medications thinking they can compensate by not eating eggs.

The prevailing trend to managed healthcare is not helping the issue. New federal guidelines are being challenged by concerned doctors. They fear the guidelines will encourage physicians to prescribe the older less expensive-and less effective drugs- instead of the more expensive but safer new drugs now available.

The older diuretics and beta-blockers do lower blood pressure but with more frequent and more severe side effects than the newer ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers now available.

So what’s the solution? Start a new trend. Go back to watching your blood pressure and taking the medication best suited to you. But while you’re at it, keep on counting those fat grams and limit that cholesterol. This fad may just save your life.  

Howard H. Farrington, President

Caring for the Stroke Victim

A stroke occurrence is usually sudden and often unexpected. The victims life is changed in an instant, without time to prepare or adjust. The lives of those that care for the stroke victim are also changed.

You arrive home from the hospital tired and frightened. You don’t have a medical background and you don’t know how to cope with the new responsibilities or with this new person that requires your care.

The first thing you must do is accept the fact that you need help and lot’s of it. Help in learning about your patient and what has happened to them, help with ideas that will work for you.

You need physical and emotional support for yourself and financial advice. It feels like you need just about everything.

Begin with your doctors. Get as much information as you can about stroke. Check with the hospital social services unit and look in the Yellow Pages for "Social and human services" listings. Find a local support group for stroke. Learn from others that are experiencing the needs and difficulties. They already know what services are available in your area, what works and what doesn’t.

Your local library has books and videos to help you learn about stroke and its’ effects. Many libraries offer informational classes that may be helpful. And don’t forget books-on-tape and large print books for your stroke survivor if they have trouble reading. Fix a meal or nod off in the chair while they listen to a favorite author or best seller.

If you live in an area with a Dept. of Aging, use your tax dollars. Find out everything they offer. Larger programs provide free or low-rent handicapped appliances, offer van service for seniors and can help locate and arrange for respite care. Some also provide advice with medical and tax forms, social security payments and other documentation that may be confusing to you.

Find a trained person to help two or three times a week with baths and medical procedures, if necessary. But the most important need for both you and your patient is to maintain social contact with friends and neighbors. You both need the love, support and company of others. Friends can often give you the respite relief you need. If they offer a meal or afternoon off- accept. They can visit with the patient while you shop, rest or do other chores. It’s a wonderful relief from routine for all of you. Neighborhood churches, scout troops and civic groups frequently provide help to shut-ins and seniors. They arrive with helping hands, bright smiles and fresh news from the world. Let them come to help- often.

In some cities, Meals-on-Wheels, offers hot lunches and cold boxed dinners on weekdays for those unable to cook for themselves. Investing in a movie or sports channel on Cable TV, may happily occupy your patient while you do other things. Look for resources and people in your community, and use them everyday.

Stroke Organizations

The following information has been compiled by the Rehabilitation Information Center. It is offered as a guide to "stroke survivors, their families, and friends." Many of these groups have their own lists, publications, support affiliates and events. For more information about they offer, call or write for information and get on their mailing list.

 E= education programs, R= referrals, S= support groups, P= publications

The American Physical Therapy Association- 1111 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA, 22314 800-999-2782 x3212, 9-5 Eastern time. (P, R)

American Speech, Language and Hearing Association- 10801 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852, 800-638-8255, 8:30 – 4:3- Eastern time. (E, R)

Family Survival Project- 425 Bush Street, Ste. 500, San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-434-3388 9-5 Pacific time. (E, R, S, P- in CA only/ speakers bureau and direct services)

National Aphasia Association- P.O. Box 1887, Murray Hill Station, NY, NY 10156, 800-922-4622. (E, R)

National Easter Seal Society- 70 E. Lake St., Chicago, IL 60601, 800-221-6827, 9-5 Central time. (S, P)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke- Office of Scientific & Health Reports, Bldg 31, Rm 8A-16, Bethesda, MD. 20892, 800-352-9424. ( P )

National Stroke Association- 8480 E. Orchard Rd., Ste. 1000, Englewood, CO 80111, 800-787-6537, 8-4 Mountain time. ( P, guidance in forming a support group)

Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Enhancing Quality of Life of Stroke Survivors- Rehabilitation Inst. of Chicago, 345 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611, 312-908-4637 (Research to improve stroke outcome)

Well Spouse Foundation – P.O. Box 801, NY, NY 10023, 212-724-7209, Pat Stills, 10-5 Eastern time. (E, S, P )

 Stroke Publications

Adaptive Resources: A Guide to Products and Manufacturers- National Stroke Assoc., 800-787-6537, free.

The Care Giver’s Guide: Helping Elderly Relatives Cope with Health and Safety Problems- Rob & Reynolds, Houghton Mifflin Co. 800-225-3362, $12.95

Eighty-Eight Easy-To-Make Aids for Older People and Special Needs- Caston, D.Hartley and Marks, Inc. 206-945-2017, $12.95 + $2 shipping

Helping Head Injury and Stroke Patients at Home: A Handbook for Families- PiLamba Theta, Available from Mary Ellen Dierks, 5266 Cribari Heights, San Jose, CA 95135, $20.

Learning and Living After Your Stroke- Harmarville Rehabilitation Center, P.O. Box 11460, Pittsburg, PA 15238, $17.

Meeting the Challenge of Disability: A Family Guide- Goldfarb, L.A., Brookes Publishing, 800-638-3775, $21.

The Road Ahead: A Stroke Recovery Guide- National Stroke Assoc., 800-787-6537, $16.50.

Stroke Family Guide and Resource- Bray, G.P., Thomas Books- 2600 S. First St. Springfield, IL 62794-9265 $22.75 + $3 shipping

Stroke: The Invaluable Guide to Life After Stroke- Josephs, A., Amadeus Press

A Stroke Manual for Families: Actions and Reactions- Tampa General Rehabilitation Center, HDI Publishers, 800-321-7037, $9.50.

Update on NEMA’s "In A Flash" Program

Since first telling you about our "In A Flash" gun violence prevention program in the spring StrokeLINES, NEMA has given over 700 free copies of the video and resource materials to middle schools throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Teachers and administrators have responded with accolades. The program has been recommended by the National Education Assoc., the Safe and Drug Free School Program and the National YWCA. We are looking for funding enabling us to offer the program to middle schools nationwide.

The Heart of The Matter 

NEMA produces an award winning radio health show, The Heart of The Matter, broadcast daily nationwide. The lively interview format provides current information on a wide range of health and healthy lifestyle topics.

For stations in your area that broadcast The Heart of The Matter, call 1-800-332-NEMA. Copies of transcripts are free and cassettes are available for $4.50. You can download transcripts or access the NEMA, National Heart Council and National Stroke Council home pages on the internet at: ***or**** e-mail:

Giving More Can Cost You Less

The Internal Revenue Service provides special incentives to encourage charitable contributions. Careful estate planning with a knowledgeable advisor allows you to benefit from tax savings now and protect your estate from unnecessary death taxes later, while still protecting the inheritance of your loved ones, plus making a charitable donation to an organization such as NEMA.(FIND OUT MORE)

Talk to your lawyer or financial planner about capital gifts, Life Income Gifts and Charitable Remainder Trusts or call NEMA at: 410-494-0300.


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Copyright 1997 National Emergency Medicine Assoc., Inc.
Last modified: January 23, 2022