Thursday, July 28, 2016

The lifestyle battle: Key for stroke survivors

Never thought about post-stroke life like this idea - unlike, say, cancer, you're never "cured" exactly. Rather, every day without another stroke is a win.

Read this interesting take how pre-stroke lifestyle tied to long term risk of more strokes, dementia:
Unlike a condition such as cancer, where if you undergo treatment successfully and survive ten years we might say “you battled it, you’re cured,” increased health risks remain after a stroke, Ikram said. This shouldn’t be discouraging, but should encourage people before or after stroke to do what they can to prevent another, he said.
“Once you suffer a stroke, treatment shifts toward medication and simple preventive measures are pushed to the background,” Ikram said. “Don’t neglect the simple things like quitting smoking, exercising more and controlling blood pressure.”
I won't argue with the idea of quitting smoking, which is one of the deadliest thing a human can do,  or with controlling blood pressure, the leading cause of strokes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Too many rehab patients suffer harm, not help

And this is why everyone needs an advocate.

I ran across this article showing that while stroke rehabilitation services can provide a great deal of help, they can do harm as well. This is a great illustration that every stroke patient in a facility needs someone watching, and the facility personnel need to know that someone is watching.

So read how nearly 30% of rehab facility patients suffer care-related harm:
The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General found that nearly 29% of Medicare beneficiaries admitted to inpatient rehab facilities experience an adverse event during their stay including healthcare-acquired infections, medication errors and pressure ulcers.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Myth No. 2: Just wait it out, and if you feel better, ignore it

Most of us have heard stories or actually witnessed it - someone is having stroke-like symptoms but instead of seeking immediate help, simply waits.

And sometimes, the symptoms go away and the person never seeks help.

But it's a myth that you shouldn't bother with help after a transient ischemic attack, or a mini-stroke. They can be precursors for something far, far worse.

Read this story, which I cited several before, on how one in eight strokes are preceded by a mini-stroke:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

If we can prevent just one ...

I know stroke survivors who didn't have preventable strokes but due to hidden causes.

But if you're a stroke survivor or care about someone who is a stroke survivor, then you might care about stroke risk factors and how much of a role they plan in nine out of 10 strokes.

A recent study indicated that stroke is largely preventable:
Hypertension (high blood pressure) remains the single most important modifiable risk factor for stroke, and the impact of hypertension and nine other risk factors together account for 90% of all strokes, according to an analysis of nearly 27000 people from every continent in the world (INTERSTROKE), published in The Lancet.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Myth No. 1: Aphasia and intelligence

In the next several weeks, look for occasional postings concerning myths about strokes, symptoms and survivors.

One is near and dear to my heart - aphasia.

When I had my stroke back in '98, I struggled to relearn how to speak, read and write (some people might think I'm still learning). But one very annoying aspect of this: people assumed that my intelligence was lowered because I had trouble with communication.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Be careful what you read - you've probably seen some bad information

Ah, Facebook.

You can read blog postings there. I enjoy seeing photos and news from my daughters and grandsons, plus news about other family and friends, especially those I seldom see.

But as you know, Facebook is fraught with bad information these days. I recently ran across a supposed list of causes of death so far this year - a list that is NOT reliable information. And since stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, that information is important. Right information, that is.

I won't reproduce this falsehood here, but you can read on snopes.com about the supposed list of causes of death:
The list was problematic in several aspects, however. First of all, the displayed figures for 2016 are simply projections based on past trends, as up-to-date information of this nature simply isn't available. The most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning causes of death tallies mortality data from 2014.
The list mingles diseases - heart disease, for example - with substances: tobacco and alcohol. Obesity itself seldom actually kills anyone, but it's on the list. It's what accompanies obesity or tobacco or alcohol abuse - heart disease and stroke, for example - that can be fatal. A cigarette itself generally doesn't cause a death. But multiple cigarettes can bring about a cause of death.

Here's the actual list of the 2014 leading causes of death in the United States, from this report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

That year is the latest available.

And it's OK to question what you read on Facebook!





Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Is technology going to catch up with stroke recovery needs?

In the last few years, we've seen lots of ideas about technology and recovery. You can find a few here.

Still, it's a little disheartening that high-tech solutions seem to always be just over the horizon instead of in place and available to all stroke survivors.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability, and most stroke survivors are included in those numbers. How much productivity can be regained if we truly harness technology to make a difference in these lives?

So, with that, here's another trial featuring cutting-edge treatments for stroke patients using videogames and robotic arms:
New therapeutic devices for stroke recovery, made possible by advances in hardware and software, are transforming the typically low-tech world of stroke rehabilitation. Though the tools are still in the early stages, doctors say that they can be more motivating and engaging for patients than current standard therapies, and that they hold promise for stroke survivors who are too injured for traditional therapy.
“We’re entering a very exciting era,” says Dr. David Putrino, director of telemedicine at the Burke Medical Research Institute in White Plains, N.Y. “All of these new tools can really help us do our jobs much better.”