Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Stroke Day - a prayer

A late note about a day that should be more recognized: World Stroke Day. From the New Zealand Stroke Foundation:
Stroke is the second largest cause of death in the developed world, as it is in New Zealand. On World Stroke Day (29 October) the NZ Stroke Foundation is calling on New Zealanders to attend to their risk of stroke.

"The simple fact is that the majority of strokes are preventable," says Stroke Foundation CEO Mark Vivian. "Making simple lifestyle changes can help prevent stroke.

"Eating a healthy diet with reduced salt, having regular physical activity, not drinking too much alcohol and being smokefree will reduce your risk of stroke. And very importantly, make sure you keep your blood pressure down."
A prayer that people become more aware of stroke prevention efforts, and signs and symptoms.

(Image from Stroke, the journal of the American Stroke Association)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Walking post-stroke can help

As a long-time distance runner, I can attest that moving helps those who experience a stroke. And while I get the gist of the article, must point out that strokes don't always happen to "older" people.

Of course, moving can be limited due to the stroke, but this recent article that walking might be helpful after a stroke:

People who suffer a stroke can substantially improve their ability to get around independently if they take walks a few times a week, according to an updated review of the medical literature.

Strokes often occur in older people who have already lost some fitness and muscle strength. Suffering a stroke may further weaken an older person by causing partial paralysis and other neurological problems.
(Image from General Services Administration)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good news, bad news for stroke patients

As non-disabled stroke survivor - thanks to quick treatment with the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator - it's good to hear that more stroke victims are receiving that treatment. But there's a lot more work to accomplish because the numbers are still not good enough:
Duke University researchers reviewed records of 428 people brought to U.S. stroke centers in 2001, and 481 patients treated at those centers in 2004. In both years, only 37 percent arrived within two hours of the start of stroke symptoms.

But 37.5 percent of those who arrived during that two-hour window received the clot-busting tPA therapy in 2004, compared to just 14 percent in 2001.

"It's a double-edged sword," said study author Dr. Larry B. Goldstein, director of the Duke Stroke Center, in Durham, N.C. His report is published in the Oct. 1 issue of Stroke.

"The organization of acute stroke care in hospitals has improved, so more patients are actually being treated, but the bad news part of it is that the proportion of patients who show up in time hasn't changed," he said.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another take on stroke/TIA study

The other day, I posted a note how a transient ischemic attack should be considered a warning about a full-blown stroke.

But on the flip side, that same recent study showed that stroke strikes without warning in majority of patients. So while you should a TIA seriously, the study shows the incredibly importance of taking stroke signs seriously - they can come without warning.

So as always: be aware of stroke signs, and move quickly to get some help!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quick action can make a big difference

From (aka The Plain Dealer), a video explaning why quick action can make a big difference for stroke patients:

... Dr. Joseph Hanna of MetroHealth Medical Center discusses those symptoms. If the drug TPA can be administered within three hours of the onset of those symptoms, disability from a stroke can be reduced by as much as 40 percent.

Among the symptoms: a droopiness on one side of the face, slurring of words or some interruption of speaking ability or the weakening of one arm.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Placing your trust in the Lord

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

We've all had days of frustration, anger. When words fail. When we are physically exhausted. When the system seems to be working against us.

Fact is, there is little to this world we can trust, in the ultimate sense. Human inventions and conventions fail; humans make mistakes; people can be thoughtless.

But read the words from Isaiah - despite human shortcomings, we do have an ultimate Rock to trust with our very souls. So when those days of frustration come, remember these words. You will still find trials in this finite world, but as Isaiah wrote, trust in God can carry you past it.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Take warnings signs seriously

It's too easy to ignore a mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack - TIA - instead of acting and taking the event seriously.

After all, you get over it, with no lingering effect, right?

Wrong. A recent story, based on recent research, reporting that one in eight strokes are preceded by a TIA:

Mini-strokes, or TIAs, have the same symptoms as a full blown stroke, including sudden weakness, slurred speech and difficulty walking. The symptoms last only minutes or hours and since people recover within a day, many don't take them seriously.

But doctors say patients who suffer mini-strokes should seek immediate medical treatment, because intensive treatment can prevent a larger stroke.

For the study, researchers looked at 16,400 patients who went to Ontario hospitals after having a stroke over four years. Among the patients, 2,032, or 12.4 per cent, reported having the symptoms of a TIA prior to a major stroke.

This is a case where common sense prevails. Take action on a TIA, and you could avoid a deadly or severely damaging stroke. So take that action if you think you or someone you care about is having a TIA. Make sure you know the signs.

Get to an emergency room - or better still, a local stroke center if available - as soon as possible. Best bet: Call 911.