By Sam Baker
On October 9, 2023
A CDC report found only 58% of Hispanic adults in the U.S. can recognize signs of stroke.
The American Stroke Association last month adopted a Spanish acronym program developed by researchers at UT Health Houston to help raise stroke awareness within the Latino community.
Dr. Claudia Perez, a neuro-intensivist with Texas Health Fort Worth and Texas Health Physicians Group, talked with KERA’s Sam Baker about the need for the program.
You know, there has been a great outreach done to try to inform the general community about recognizing the symptoms of a stroke. A lot of the campaigns have been primarily engaged with English-speaking acronyms and mnemonics. These are not always as available or interpretable for Hispanic patients. So, community awareness of just recognizing these symptoms.
Other barriers include social determinants of health. So access to quality health care. Language barriers that occur and educational levels can sometimes limit the ability of Hispanic patients to kind of recognize the symptoms and be aware.
There has been a program that’s been created now with the acronym RAPIDO?
A lot of the campaigns from the American Heart Association and the Stroke Association really put out the branding into the community that is easily understandable.
These campaigns, like the FAST acronym, are what most people are used to, going over the types of symptoms that you would have if somebody was having a stroke that would alert you that something needs to be done. So for FAST, it’s:
- F for facial drooping
- A for arm weakness and then
- S for speech difficulty.
- T is for time, making sure you get emergency help immediately.
So for the Spanish-speaking community, that acronym is for RAPIDO:
- Rostro caído (face drooping)
- Álteración del equilibrio (loss of balance or coordination)
- Pérdida de fuerza en el brazo (arm weakness)
- Impedimento visual repentino (sudden vision difficulty)
- Dificultad para hablar (slurred or strange speech)
- Obtén ayuda, llama al 911 (get help, call 911)
So it is the equivalent of the fast to kind of spread out community awareness of the symptoms of stroke to the timely intervention that is needed to help improve their overall outcomes.
And what are the steps you should take to avoid stroke?
80% of stroke is preventable. A lot of the risk factors for stroke are things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. And so lifestyle modification to prevent stroke is very important.
What happens with that campaign? How far does it go?
So one is radio and TV kind of announcements to get it out into the community. The other thing is recognizing this is education that we need to do in the clinics with our patients.
So it’s a way to kind of talk about these topics in a more direct way. Getting the information to patients is very important to recognize because time is brain.
Stroke is basically when a clot stops blood flow to your brain. And during that time, brain cells are dying. And so the hope is that if we can bring awareness of the signs and symptoms, we can get patients into the hospital early so that they can have interventions that can help stop a stroke, that can help prevent disability and hopefully improve the outcomes.
This piece was republished from KERA News.