Let’s give a high-five for stroke! According to the latest data, stroke deaths have fallen from the no. 4 cause of death to the no. 5. Although too many Americans still suffer a stroke every year, we can all celebrate this achievement.
“The fact that the death rate is declining from this terrible and devastating disease is gratifying news,” said American Heart Association President Elliott Antman, M.D. “These statistics are a tribute to the many courageous survivors, healthcare professionals, researchers, volunteers and everyone else committed to fighting stroke,” he said.
Dr. Antman is correct. We could not make this progress without our wonderful volunteers. Take last year for example. Over the past 12 months You’re the Cure advocates have stepped up and told Congress to make stroke a priority. Here are some of our highlights:
- Over 9,000 messages sent to Capitol Hill urging members to remove punitive caps on therapy for stroke survivors on Medicare.
- Almost 10,000 emails sent to Congress demanding that lifesaving heart and stroke research be made a priority in the federal budget.
- A dozen stroke advocates visiting Congressional offices during American Stroke Month.
- You’re the Cure advocates joining with 300 other volunteers from other organizations during the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day and telling their elected officials to support more medical research funding.
Even though we are thrilled with this new development, our advocacy work is far from over. Over the next few years we will be working to do the following to prevent even more deaths from stroke:
- Eliminating therapy caps for stroke survivors on Medicare once-and-for-all
- Increasing funding for critical stroke research
- Investing in innovative ways to treat stroke patients, such as telestroke
- Reducing the amount of sodium in our food. High sodium can cause high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of stroke.
For now, let’s take a moment and reflect on this accomplishment. Thank you for all of the work you have done over the years to help reduce stroke deaths. Hopefully, in the next few years will be celebrating another drop!