Rancho schedules free stroke screenings

DOWNEY - Do you value your life enough to spend 90 minutes attending a free seminar where a world-renowned doctor will tell you how to improve your health and you will also receive a free blood pressure screening? "If your answer is yes, you should sign up today for the last two free local Primary Stroke Prevention Seminars of the year on September 25 and November 6," said RTH Stroke Foundation President and Downey native Deborah Massaglia. She emphasized that the three previous seminars held this year were sold out very quickly.

Several lives have been saved at the earlier seminars, and more than 130 attendees had life-threatening high blood pressure identified there. "High blood pressure is a silent killer and the largest contributor to strokes, and everyone should make sure they have their blood pressure under control," Deborah said. "It's important to remember that coming to learn about stroke and its causes is just as important as the screening, because a lot of heart disease and other conditions go undiagnosed until it's too late."

The seminars are sponsored by a community partnership that includes the RTH Stroke Foundation, Rancho Los Amigos Foundation, Rio Hondo Event Center and The Downey Patriot. Dr. Nerses Sanossian, Director of the Roxanna Todd Hodges Comprehensive Stroke Clinic at USC said, "This is the most successful Primary Stroke Prevention seminar series our nation has ever had. I encourage everyone in the community to attend the next seminars and start working on a healthier life."

To register for the free seminars, call the RTH Stroke Foundation toll-free today at (888) 794-9466. The next free seminar, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 25 at the Rio Hondo Event Center, will feature renowned Rancho cardiologist and Rancho Research Institute President Yaga Szlachcic, MD. She will deliver a 45-minute presentation about how Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib), the most common cardiac heart rhythm disorder, increases the risk of stroke and heart disease, especially when combined with high blood pressure.

"A-fib sometimes has no symptoms, but many individuals with an irregular heartbeat experience dizziness, weakness and fatigue," she said.

Dr. Szlachcic, who also Chairs the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center Department of Medicine and the annual Rancho Women's Health Conference, will also discuss many current vitamin myths and inform seminar participants about what vitamins are actually good for creating healthier lifestyles.

"These are things everyone should learn about so that they can feel better and increase their odds of having a long and healthy life," Dr. Szlachcic said.

The year's final seminar, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 6, will feature Helena Chui, MD, one of the world's most accomplished neurologists and researchers. Dr. Chui is the Chair of Neurology at the USC Keck School of Medicine. She will speak about Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease and their relation to stroke.

"Many people don't understand that vascular causes of cognitive impairment and stroke are preventable," said Dr. Chui. "I will discuss what we can do to prevent vascular issues, which often have no obvious symptoms and occur side-by-side with Alzheimer's."

The common perception is that conditions such as A-fib, Vascular Dementia and high blood pressure occur only in older individuals, but that is not the case. "We just had a young man 22 years old come to one of our support groups because he had experienced a stroke during surgery," Deborah said. "That's why it's important for adults of all ages to find out about health issues that can lead to a stroke and what everyone can do to improve their health at any age."

"These life-saving seminars are very important for all of us to attend, because the best way for us to lead healthier lives is to become aware of our own health status and risk factors for stroke and other diseases that can destroy our health," said community leader Beverly Mathis.

"Attending these seminars is the best 90 minutes you can spend to improve your health," said Downey school board member Martha Sodetani. "They not only help us monitor our health, they provide us with information about how we can live a more healthy lifestyle so that we can avoid having a stroke or other debilitating condition."

"We are making it possible for community members to register for both free seminars at the same time," Deborah said. "Simply call us toll-free at (888) 794-9466 and we'll do the rest. You can also get further information on these seminars at our web site at www.rthfoundation.org."

All attendees will also receive the RTH Stroke Foundation's "Strides Against Stroke" newsletter free. "The newsletter is published six times each year and is filled with information you can use to live a healthier life," Beverly said. "There are always great health tips and recipes for healthy eating. I especially enjoyed the delicious recipe for apple berry salsa with cinnamon chips in the latest issue."

"Attending these seminars is so important for everyone's health," former Downey Mayor Meredith Perkins said. "I learned so much about how to stay healthy from the presentations and about my health status from the free screenings. I encourage you to register for these last two seminars of the year, because attending could save your life!"

********** Published: Aug. 29, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 20