Thursday, August 27, 2015

Do you work hard? Too hard? What might follow ...

Photo by hiroo yamagata via Flickr
I work. A lot. As in gathering unused vacation time and such. Technology makes that so much more tempting.

But I might take advantage of more time off after hearing the news about how long work hours may increase risk for stroke:
As technology now allows us to work anywhere and anytime, thereby extending our normal working hours, it becomes more important to maintain a balance in life.
In fact, those long days that turn into nights in the office may not be good for you in the long run, and may actually increase your risk for stroke, according to results of a new study published in the Lancet.
Researchers in the study combined the results (published and some unpublished) of 25 observational studies that involved over 530,000 patients who did not have any history of stroke, along with over 600,000 who did not have any previous history of coronary artery disease. Over a period of 7-8 years of follow up, they noted 1,700 strokes and 4,800 heart attacks.
So many of us are encouraged to put in these extra hours and work too hard. Something to reconsider.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The phone number is easy to remember - but who's calling it?


But who's calling for an ambulance ride? Here's an interesting look at how race and sex may influence who calls an ambulance for stroke symptoms:
With an average age of 71, half of the stroke patients were women and almost 70 percent were white. Almost 20 percent were black, 8 percent were Hispanic and 3 percent identified as Asian.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Aging with migraine? Smoking seems to add a major stroke risk

Smoking, as mentioned here before, is bad for you. Really bad for you.

So check out this news about smoking, migraines and strokes - older smokers with migraines may face added stroke risk:
Photo: free photos via Flickr
The researchers did not find an association between migraine and the risk of either heart attack or stroke in nonsmokers. But among smokers, migraine was associated with a threefold increased risk of stroke.
However, even though the study found an association between migraine and stroke risk in smokers, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pass the fried catfish - but only once in a while

Photo: Patrick Woodward via Flickr
This isn't the first time we've seen the warning that Southern diets are linked to stroke risk.

Being a born Southerner - and a lover of fried catfish, fried hush puppies and fried okra - it's hard to admit that the food I grew up on was perhaps not the healthiest. These days, living in the Midwest, I am sparing in consumption of these things.

Check out the latest article that Southern-style diet is least healthy:
Individuals eating foods typical to the Southern region -- think fried chicken, fried okra, sweet tea, buttered biscuits, and lots of gravy -- showed a 56% increase in cardiovascular disease, compared with those rarely eating such foods, in the national, population-based, observational Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) trial.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Got a few minutes? Could be that this is all you'll need

You don't have to do Olympic-level exercises to reduce your stroke risk.

Which is good news for me, since I'm past that.

I still run (relatively slowly) but according to some recent research, even a little exercise goes a long way for older adults:
Photo: U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention
The reduction in all-cause mortality was stronger for men than for women, Hupin's group noted, adding that there was a possibility that men may have overestimated their activity, or that women might have underestimated theirs.
"This protective effect appears dose-dependent and is already significant for a low dose of moderate to vigorous physical activity (or about 15 min per day), which is below current recommendations for older adults," they stated. "These results can guide future recommendations for older adults and may improve adherence to regular physical activity programs and thus their global health."
Exercise has previously been shown to offer a wide array of benefits to older adults.
Fifteen minutes of moderate activity a day is within reach for almost anyone. Check out the entire article, then go do your 15 minutes!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chew your food, or this might happen!

I had the greatest hug last week. But the lead-in event started out deadly.

One evening, after grilling some beef kabobs, I enjoyed one chunk too much – and began to choke. My wife Laura came to my rescue, put her arms around me from behind and squeezed. And at least six more times. The chunk remained, but her moves gave me a tiny bit of an airway. She called 911 while I went to the floor, hacking like a cat with a hairball.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

We're supposed to go F.A.S.T. - but are those preaching it do the same?

Second round in this week's theme: Taking stroke patients seriously.

We're all told to get possible stroke patients to medical help fast - there's even a program with the acronym F.A.S.T. We're all told brain = time.

But, according to a recent study, it seems that many hospitals overestimate their adherence to stroke guidelines:
Researchers surveyed staff in 141 hospitals across the United States who treated more than 48,000 stroke patients in 2009 and 2010, and compared their responses with patient data. The results revealed significant differences between staff perception and reality.