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Today on The Pulse View All

Urge Congress to Participate in American Stroke Month!

Earlier this month, there was big news for stroke patients on Medicare. On April 1st, President Obama signed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act. Included in the law is a provision that extends the Medicare therapy caps exceptions process for the next 12 months. This means for the next year, stroke survivors on Medicare can rest assured that they will have access to the crucial rehabilitation needed to help in their recovery. Now decisions around therapy won’t be hampered by an arbitrary cap or coverage limits.

Even though this was a victory for stroke patients on Medicare, it is disappointing that these therapy caps were not permanently repealed and that stroke survivors might find their crucial therapy in jeopardy again a year from now.

Congress' failure to repeal the therapy caps shows how important it is that the voices of stroke survivors be heard on Capitol Hill. Luckily, with May being American Stroke Month, this is the perfect time to speak up in support of stroke patients. During those 31 days, we will be promoting awareness about stroke among lawmakers and how together we can make it preventable, treatable, and beatable. 

However, you do not have to wait until then to get your legislators involved!

Send a letter to your member of Congress today and tell them to make American Stroke Month a priority!

Your representative in Congress can participate in three simple ways to highlight the importance of American Stroke Month. They include:

  • Attend the American Stroke Association / National Stroke Association Congressional briefing on May 14th, which will highlight the issues and challenges facing stroke caregivers.

  • Speak on the floor of the House or Senate about the importance of American Stroke Month or highlight the month in a newsletter.

  • Join the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition. The Coalition, which is made up of more than 125 Members of the House and Senate, works to raise awareness of the seriousness of cardiovascular diseases and acts as a resource center on heart and stroke issues.

May is the month to focus our legislators on stroke awareness. Urge your legislator to participate in American Stroke Month today!

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Calling All You're the Cure Superheroes!

Calling all You’re the Cure SUPERHEORES! (Yes, that means YOU!)

Forget Captain America and Wonder Woman.  When it comes to fighting heart disease and stroke, You’re the Cure advocates are the superheroes we’ll choose to have on our side every time!  That’s because no super powers or special gadgets can ever amount to the power of thousands of dedicated people who give their time and share their stories to bring about positive change.    

Wondering if the contacts you make to our nation’s lawmakers really qualify you for superhero status?  Just think about this... Everyday, heart & stroke patients are benefiting from life-saving research you supported.  Everyday, students are eating healthier meals in schools because of you.  Everyday, people have access to AEDs in more public places because you pushed for change.  And everyday, our neighbors are breathing smoke-free air because you cared enough to speak-up.  Because of you, we are saving lives and helping more Americans live healthier- and in our book, that makes you a superhero! 

Later this month is National Superhero Day (April 28th) and rather than celebrate fictional characters from comic books and action movies, we want to celebrate YOU!  So, we’re asking ALL of our You’re the Cure advocates to share a picture, showing us your best superhero pose.  Or you can share a picture of the special heart or stroke superhero in your life who inspires you to be an advocate. 

It’s easy to join in the fun!  Just snap a picture of yourself giving us your best superhero pose (bonus points for creativity!) and share the picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter using the hashtag #ytcHero.  Throughout the month, we’ll share some of great pictures on our social media accounts to showcase our powerful You’re the Cure community.     

We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Upcoming Event View All

  • May

    May is American Stroke Month

    Saturday, 12:00 AM – 11:59 PM

    Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death with someone being diagnosed with the disease every 40 seconds! However, May is American Stroke Month and here are some ways for you to get involve to make stroke preventable, treatable, and beatable !

    1.Get your lawmakers involved today! Send a quick email asking them to make American Stroke Month a priority!

    2. Did you know high blood pressure is the leading modifiable stroke risk factor? Take the Stroke Risk Quiz and share it with your community.

    3. Share our tools and resources with your networks, family and colleagues and at events within your community.

    4. Help your loved ones and colleagues by learning more about stroke and the most common warning signs by downloading the F.A.S.T. mobile app.

    5. If you're a healthcare professional or provider, you can also use our resources available in the Stroke Resource Center to help educate your patients and community about stroke.

    6. Remember to share all things American Stroke Month with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter!

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Advocate Stories View All

Ariel Walker Ohio

At 19, my life was totally normal for a college student.  Eat, sleep, class, repeat.  And then one day, my heart quit beating.  I was giving a final presentation in front of a class full of people when everything went dark.  When I woke up, I was on the floor with a paramedic looking at me.

It took almost 4 years to diagnose what had caused me to pass out.  I was lucky.  I had a mother who had worked in a hospital for 25 years, and a supportive partner who drove me four hours each direction every couple of weeks for tests.  For such a dramatic event, it was extremely difficult to convince doctors that anything was wrong with me.  I passed every test.  Most appointments ended with the explanation that I was probably passing out because I was thin and therefore probably not eating enough. 

However, with my mom’s stubbornness and understanding of the heath care system, I was able to get an appointment with a cardiologist who was willing to send me for a tilt-table test.  I laid strapped flat to a table for an hour and then they flipped me vertically to see what would happen.   As everyone waited to see if I would pass out, the surgeon suggested that if I switched my snacks to salted peanuts and Gatorade, I would probably be fine.  I don’t remember much after that because I did pass out, and my heart stopped beating. 

I had cardio-inhibitory vasovagal syncope and I would need a pacemaker to keep me from passing out in the future.  A million things raced through my mind, the first of which was relief… I finally had a diagnosis.  The second was, would I ever look good in a bikini with a pacemaker implanted in my chest.  A month later, I was in surgery: the only 24 year-old on the cardiology schedule. 

My surgery was not easy.  It was supposed to be less than 24 hours in the hospital and I ended up there for three days.  My body was going into shock every time the pacemaker tried to pace my heart.  I was sent for x-rays in a wheelchair and brought back in a gurney because I kept losing consciousness.  It was terrifying.  Not for me so much, I was just exhausted. But for my family who had to watch helplessly, it was a nightmare. 

What I didn’t realize at the time, and what is impossible to explain to someone who has never been in such a situation, is that I not only became aware of a problem that day, I also lost the ability to trust that my heart would ever beat the way it was supposed to.  We don’t think about our lungs allowing us to breathe or our heart pumping our blood. It just happens.  I can’t explain the sense of loss, or the fear that develops of your own body, but I can encourage people not to take it for granted. 

I am now on my second pacemaker and, although that surgery wasn’t easy either, I live a healthy and active life with my amazing husband and two dogs.  To give back, I also joined the Board of Directors for my local American Heart Association so that I can encourage others to live well and take care of their hearts.  A coronary event can happen to anyone, at any stage of life.  It is important to pay attention to what your body is telling you and seek a doctor’s care whenever your heath circumstances change.  Treat your heart with care and never take it for granted.

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