Free carotid artery screenings next month

DOWNEY - Lifesaving carotid artery screenings, which can cost upwards of $500 at a doctor's office, will be provided free at the first Primary Stroke Prevention seminar of 2014, which will be held Wednesday, January 22 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Rio Hondo Event Center. "The lives of several Downey-area residents were saved last year because our screenings detected that their carotid arteries were nearly 100 percent blocked," said RTH Stroke Foundation President Deborah Massaglia. "None of these individuals had any idea they had this life-threatening condition.

"We advise adults to have this painless ultrasound screening annually, because it is a critical element in assessing a person's risk for stroke," she said.

Deborah is a Downey native who has given nearly two decades of her life to fight strokes such as the ones that felled her good friend Roxanna Todd Hodges. Roxanna established what is now known as the RTH Stroke Foundation, which has become one of the world's most effective organizations in stroke prevention.

Deborah will present an informative presentation on stroke prevention at the January 22 event.

In addition to the Carotid Artery screenings, free blood pressure screenings will also be offered at the seminar. Last year, more than 160 individuals were diagnosed with life-threatening, extremely high blood pressure at the Downey Primary Stroke Prevention seminars. Reservations for this seminar are being taken online only at

"Many people got to our Downey screenings just in time last year," Deborah said. "They had life-threatening conditions without knowing it. Thanks to the results of the screenings we provided, they were referred for immediate medical attention."

"I would advise people to RSVP immediately for this seminar, because last year's events with carotid artery screenings were filled very quickly," said Rio Hondo Event Center's Mark Shelton. "I know how important these screenings are, because I know several people whose lives were saved by screenings last year."

The partners who will be providing the five Primary Stroke Prevention seminars in Downey this year include the RTH Stroke Foundation, Rancho Research Institute, The Downey Patriot and the Rio Hondo Event Center.

The RTH Stroke Foundation has conducted stroke prevention seminars for more than 15 years in conjunction with many of the leading hospitals in Southern California. But it has never experienced anything remotely approaching the success of the Downey project.

In addition to potentially lifesaving screenings, this year's sessions will provide many strategies for Downey-area residents to avoid having strokes.

"Experts in stroke research and treatment report that eight out of every ten strokes can be prevented," Deborah said. "Attending this seminar is a great first step to preventing strokes in the local community."

"The last words of Roxanna Todd Hodges were 'Strike out stroke wherever you can,' and that is exactly what we will be doing on January 22," Deborah said.

********** Published: Dec. 19, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 36

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