Thursday, January 29, 2015

Home alone: Solitude might be dangerous for stroke patients

I can see lots of reasons that it might be true that, as one study finds, male stroke victims are at a greater risk of premature death when living alone:
Excess mortality was found among 36 percent of the patients living alone, as opposed to 17 percent of those with partners who died within 12 years after a stroke. The gap was also heavier among men at 44 percent to 14 percent.
"Among the conceivable causes are that people who live alone lead less healthy lives, are less prone to take their medication and tend to wait longer before going to the emergency room," Dr. Redfors said, in a news release. "For the healthy controls, excess mortality was also greater among men, particularly those living alone."
Now, does that mean single men need to find someone now? I'm not sure about that. But it would make sense to designate someone to act on your behalf if needed, in addition to the cautions the news release cites.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

'May your love and faithfulness always protect me'

Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
Ever at a loss for words? When trouble strikes? When someone is ill? What do you say? What do you pray for?

I struggle with this. Then, if I'm thinking clearly, I remember words like those from these verses, carrying a simple but powerful message. God loves you. God is faithful to you. God is here for your protection.

Does that mean Christians are to expect an easy life in this world with no challenges or suffering? No.

God's protection can be big-picture protection. When all earthly efforts fail, God is holding you in his protection. In love. Faithfully.

Today, let's pray that no matter what, recognize and feel God's love, faithfulness and protection.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Young stroke survivor finds strength in determination

Photo from the U.S.
Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention
Are we all destined to run after a stroke? No. BUT, I still like stories like this because they do illustrate that after a stroke, determination is often key.

If you've visited this blog before, you'll know that was a runner before my stroke in 1998, started running again several weeks later, and continue to run. People, though, have different outcomes - physical, speech, vision, etc. - and not everyone can run. In fact, as the last post noted, stroke is the most common cause of permanent disability in the United States.

But the story is more than running. It's about a stroke survivor who found strength, a story that can echo in other lives. People might have different levels of abilities and strengths, different disabilities, different challenges. The important thing is to keep those challenges challenged.

So, here's a link, an excerpt and a video about a young stroke survivor finds strength in running:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

As more stroke patients survive, more needs arise

Photo from the National
Library of Medicine
You've likely seen recent stories about how more people survive strokes. Generally, a good news story.

However, as this story illustrates, it also means that as more stroke patients live, more need rehab treatment:
More stroke patients now survive brain attacks that would have killed them a few years ago, and stroke has dropped from the fourth- to the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S., the federal government said in late 2014.
With higher survival rates comes an increasing need for stroke rehabilitation programs for people like Cleveland, 41, who deal with varying disabilities.
In fact, stroke is one of the leading causes of disability.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stroke risk rises for those in their 20s

This article (see link below) begins with a story of a 26-year-old man who had a stroke. Mine happened at age 39 (in hindsight, I now consider that to be young).

The story highlights that the odds of stroke rise sharply among young people:
Although stroke has long been considered an illness of advanced age, statistics show a startling demographic reversal in recent years. Even while strokes are on the decline in older adults, decreasing by more than 25 percent for people older than 45, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, the chances of stroke have soared alarmingly among people in early adulthood and middle age.
From 1994 through 2007, CDC research shows, the rate of ischemic stroke jumped by 47 percent for men ages 35 to 44 and 36 percent for women in the same age group. For men in their early 20s, the number of stroke-related hospitalizations rose by more than 50 percent during that period.
What do to? Follow stroke prevention guidance, and know the signs. Even if you are young - or surrounded by those who are young.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Good balance? Might indicate a decreased stroke risk

I'm trying to catch up with all the interesting stories found in my Google alerts about stroke news after some time off.

As someone who is not particularly good at balance, I was intrigued by an article indicating that if you can balance on one leg? You may have lower stroke risk:
Difficulty standing on one leg may indicate that small strokes or tiny bleeds have already occurred, which means the risk for more serious strokes is high, the investigators reported online Dec. 18 in the journal Stroke.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Treating even mild high blood pressure can pay off

I'm a big believer in watching blood pressure - it can be a sign of many, treatable problems. That includes stroke. In fact, high blood pressure is a leading cause of strokes.

Plus, it's an easy number to get checked - with consultation with a health professional, you can buy and learn to use a device to check it at home - and it involves no needles, scalpels or lab results.

Now, recent study shows a link between treating even mild high blood pressure pays off for stroke prevention: