Stroke in the Media


Strokein the Media

Strokein the Media

Strokehas been portrayed as the primary cause of severe disability.Besides, it is ranked among the major causes of fatality in theUnited States. According to studies, there are 795, 000 new cases ofstrokes every year (Davis,2007). Additionally,it has been shown that in every 45 seconds, one person in the USsuffers stroke.

Inspite of the devastating effects caused by stroke, many families inAmerica still are not aware of the signs, symptoms, as well as therisk factors (Croftet al. 2004).Therefore, the need to enhance stroke associated knowledge has beendeemed vital as it could help in the prevention and treatment of thedisease. Currently, it has been recognized as a health priority. Inorder to educate people, the media has played a significant role inknowledge dissemination. Mass media including local television, radioannouncements, print media such as news papers and billboards, anddigital platforms are among the major sources of health information.They target persons at high risk of experiencing stroke or those whomay be present during a stroke onset. The current paper investigatesthe kind of information regarding stroke that is disseminated byvarious media platforms.

StrokeEducation in the Media

Televisionhas been named as the key source of information concerning stroke. Itcontains a wide array of programs containing stroke relatedinformation intended to educate the general public. For instance,Stroke:Issues and Answersis a thirty minute Television special produced for FOX’s TheHealth Network as part of The Cutting Edge Medical Report series(Pribble,2006). Theshow comprises key topics ranging from first aid in case of a strokeattack to management and treatment. To start with, patients arerecommended to use TPA, an agent that assists in restoring the flowof blood in the brain while at the same time, limiting neurologicaldamage. To achieve that, the agent must be used within the firstthree hours of an attack. Other than that, the use of ‘clotbursting’ medications, a kind of new generation drugs have alsobeen evidenced to help reduce stroke reappearance. Furthermore, theshow illustrates the significance of employing rehabilitationprograms which results in enhanced life quality for stroke survivors.The show, whose co-host is Ralph Sacco is among the leading programsairing stroke information. Sacco is the Associate Chairman ofNeurology for Clinical Research and Training at Columbia PresbyterianMedical Center (Pribble,2006).The show is produced by the National Stroke Association inpartnership with the Information Television Network.

OtherTV programs such as TheFacts of Lifeand Diff`rentStrokesboth aired on NBC, and HelpingSeniorsalso contain educative materials to the general public. According toPribble et al. (2006) such programs feature stories about warningsigns, risk factors, common symptoms, as well as treatment of varioustypes of stroke including Citocoline. The use of Citocoline within 14hours after a symptom has been reported could result in fullrecovery. The local television stations have also shown that the useof antioxidants, although beings founded on an animal study, reducesthe damage of the brain by 40 percent when used within a period ofseven hours after an attack. Additionally, in case of symptom onset,patients are recommended to go the hospital immediately or call 911.

Otherthan television, the radio has also played a major role in educatingthe public. For instance, in 2013, the Ad Council, in collaborationwith the America Stroke Association began a campaign to createawareness about stroke. The campaign was intended to edify thegeneral public regarding the impulsive signs of the disease, and thesignificant of calling 911 without more ado (Pribble, et al., 2006).Responding immediately helps in saving life while guaranteeing abetter recovery opportunity. The campaign, which was referred to asB.E F.A.S.T, is a key way of helping the general public recognizesthe onset signs. The B.E F.A.S.T stroke prevention campaign is airedon a ‘A Healthier Tomorrow’ radio program, with the intention ofeducating the public. B.E F.A.S.T is an acronym that stands for:

  • Balance – Is the individual going through a period of unexpected loss of coordination or balance?

  • Eyes -It involves experiencing an impulsive modification in vision or having difficulties in seeing?

  • Face Drooping – This entails drooping of the face. It may also become numb. It is usually recognized when the person smiles.

  • Arm Weakness – It involves weakening or numbing of the arms. It is recognized when the victim raises both hands, and one of them drifts downwards.

  • Speech Difficulty- In this case, the speech becomes slurred and the individuals are unable to talk. They also become difficult to understand. If they are unable to repeat straightforward sentences, that shows signs of stroke.

  • Time to call 911 – The presence of any of symptoms implies that actions should be taken. This involves calling 911 and taking the patient to a healthcare as soon as possible.

Inaddition to that, the National Institute of Neurological Disordersand Stroke (NINDS) launched the KnowStroke Campaign in2001 with the aim of creating stroke awareness (National Institute ofNeurological Disorders and Stroke, n.d). The campaign materials usedincluded print media such as posters and brochures as well as videoand radio PSAs. The campaign incorporates outreach to clients as wellas health care specialists. One of the major messages communicatedthrough the campaign is recognizing the symptoms. These includenumbness, confusion, trouble seeing and walking as well as severeheadache. Since it was unveiled, the KnowStroke campaign hasfocused on boosting public preparedness regarding the signs andsymptoms, encouraging people to seek immediate care by calling 911 incase of an attack, and swaying health professionals to effect andenhance protocols aimed at treating stroke.

The2015 PSAs, was produced by The BAM Connection, featuring Paul George.The renowned NBA All-Star experienced the effects of stroke duringhis childhood when his mother suffered an attack. Through the PSAs,watchers are directed to where theydiscover more about stroke.


Fromthe above discussion, it is clear that stroke has attracted theattention of the mass media, which has remarkably provided useful andeducative information to the general public. In particular,television, radio as well as print media has been acknowledged withamplifying public awareness on the signs, symptoms, risk factors,management and treatment of stroke. The need to seek immediatemedical care has also been encouraged. Through such platforms,individuals become informed on how to appropriately discover warningor onset signs, as this are the first step in stroke management.


Croft,J. B, Greenlund, K. J, Ayala, C., Keenan. N. L. Zheng, Z. J. Mensah,G. A., (2004). Awareness of stroke warning signs—17 states and theUS Virgin Islands, 2001. MorbidMortal Wkly Rep.53: 359–362.

Davis,S. M. (2007). Community stroke education using mass media: Pastresults and future implications. Stroke,38.

NationalInstitute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Know Stroke (n.d).Knowthe signs. Act in time.Retrieved from:

Pribble,J. M., Goldstein, K. M., Fowler, E. F., Greenberg, M. J., Noel, S.K., Howell, J. D,. (2006). Medical news for the public to use? What’son local TV news. AmJ Manag Care.12: 170–176.

Pribble,J. M., Goldstein, K. M., Majersik, J. J., Barsan, W. G., Brown, D.L., Morgenstern, L. B. (2006). Stroke Information Reported on LocalTelevision News: A National Perspective. Stroke,37: 1556-1557.