I am an avid tweeter - you know, Twitter? I love it, and in fact have 2 separate accounts to match each one of my blogs. It is not always easy staying on top of all of the info, never mind remembering to be engaged and provide updates and info that seem to be "worthy" of reading. There is a lot of fantastic information on Twitter - likewise, there is a lot in MISinformation as well. In my attempt to look for all things heart related, I came across HeartHub for patients, which is part of the American Heart Association (AHA). The site is great - it is a site for patients and caregivers and it is affiliated with the AHA - who better to back a patient website with all things heart related? You can check out your risk level for heart disease, your BMI, and review various treatment options. But as the index page of the site came up and I started to look a bit deeper, that feeling of disappointment that so often follows every time I look at most heart and or/ stroke related material emerged.
There were no young people (that I could see anyway). When I say young, I mean people who appear to be younger than 40-45 or so. Speaking from personal experience, I know that strokes can and do happen to anyone no matter what you look like, what your age is, or your ethnicity. The site reminded me of a brochure I received upon being discharged from the hospital after my stroke. An elderly couple smiled back at me - they were sitting outside in a chair and had their arms around each other. The heading on the brochure read "Sex after Stroke" and the couple was probably in their late 70s - early 80s. How could I (33 at the time) possibly relate to the couple on the brochure? I did not think that the brochure would provide alternative birth control methods since I could no longer take hormones following my stroke, and somehow, I did not think that the elderly couple would need to worry about such issues.
The situation is similar with HeartHub . While the information is fantastic, I would love to see someone (other than a health care professional) who is at least near my own age.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are campaigns to which I can relate. As I was on my run yesterday, I ran my an American Stroke Association "Choose to Move" poster. A young healthy woman - probably in her late 20s - mid 30s - was wearing headphones, had a smile on her face, and looked as if she was dancing. She could have been me - and I could be her. This I related to.
In the end I suppose what matters the most is that the information is there- people see it and remember what kinds of resources they have access to. My only concern is that if people do not see individuals "like them" on health-related marketing materials, they may ignore the resources and think "This could never happen to me", when it fact it can, and it can hit closer to home then they could possibly imagine.