Friday, September 30, 2011

'God's love has been poured out into our hearts'

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I monitor a few other blogs and saw a video, showing how one stroke survivor has seen all the characteristics that Paul described: suffering, perseverance, character, hope.

Watch and learn...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Preventing stroke and heart attack

Recent news shows that in a study, stroke patients benefit from cardiac rehabilitation:
"Overall, the risk status of patients improved, and we think that that would be associated with a decreased risk of future vascular risk, both stroke and cardiac."

The study was published online September 22 in Stroke. ...

Most of the study participants were sedentary, hypertensive, hyperlipidemic, or had a smoking history. The intervention included education on these risk factors, as well as on diet and medications, advice regarding psychological issues, and a stress test. Patients had the option of either an on-site exercise program consisting of 50 twice-weekly exercise sessions with supplementary home-based training at least twice weekly, or a home-based option with exercise at least 4 days weekly and monthly contact either by telephone or on-site.

Of the 100 patients who attended the comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation intake clinic, 80 completed the program.

The outcome? Significant metabolic improvements and for three out of 10, better aerobic capacity. So, in efforts of preventing stroke, think heart.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apple a day? Something to watch

Now, from the Netherlands, here's something that you can sink your teeth into. It's a study showing that white-fleshed fruits and vegetables reduce stroke risk:

A new study shows an association between a high intake of fruits and vegetables with a white flesh—mainly apples and pears in this research—and reduced risk of stroke on the order of 50%
In this large, population-based study, each 25 g/day increase in consumption of white fruits and vegetables was associated with a 9% decrease in stroke risk.

However, lead author Linda M Oude Griep (Wageningen University, the Netherlands) cautioned that as this is the first study to look at color groups of fruits and vegetables in relation to stroke, no definite conclusions can be made.

"There are more studies needed to confirm these findings," Griep told heartwire. "It's also the case that maybe other color groups of fruits and vegetables may protect against other chronic diseases, so it remains of importance that patients eat a variety of fruits and vegetables."

Their findings were published online yesterday and will appear in the November issue of Stroke.

It is, as stated, too early to give definite conclusions. However, I must say that I'm glad I like apples!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New stroke prevention efforts

Stroke and heart attack prevention efforts made news this week, as government agencies and the American Heart Association launched an effort to stop one million heart attacks and strokes.

As NPR's Shots - Health Blog noted:
The campaign has two parts. One aims to change the behavior of doctors and patients. The other aims to change what all of us eat. Both are summed up by the acronym ABCS – which stands for aspirin, blood pressure control, cholesterol control and smoking.

In the realm of doctors and patients, Frieden and a phalanx of other federal officials want to expand by 10 million the number of Americans who have their high blood pressure under control and by 20 million those with controlled blood cholesterol levels.

To get there will require raising blood pressure control from less than half the people with hypertension now to 65 percent. Cholesterol control will have to triple.

The other medical-care strategy is to get people at high risk of heart attacks and strokes to take a baby aspirin every day. Fewer than half now do. The government wants to get that up to 65 percent.

Another goal is to get four million smokers to quit by 2016. That target is more modest – lowering smoking prevalence from 19 percent of adults today to 17 percent five years from now.
Forbes set out some important statistics:
Nearly half (49.7%) of US adults in 2007-2008 had at least one of the three main risk factors for CV disease – uncontrolled hypertension, uncontrolled high levels of LDL cholesterol, and current smoking. This represents a significant decline from the 57.8% prevalence reported in 1999-2000. The decrease, according to the CDC, “might, in part, reflect improved treatment and control of hypertension and high levels of LDL-C and implementation of effective smoking interventions.”
But we can do better. As said, fewer smokers, better control of high blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Those are key stroke risk factors. Heart attacks and strokes hit 2 million Americans every year. More than 800,000 don't survive. Related medical costs and productivity lost: $450 billion ever year. We can do better.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No longer just for the elderly...

You've seen anecdotes - including mine - on this blog before, but researchers have found that strokes rising among teens, young adults:
The number of people aged 15 to 44 hospitalized for stroke jumped by more than third between 1995 and 2008, say researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The increase may be due partly to the increasing numbers of young people who have diseases such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes -- diseases usually associated with older adults, they added.

High blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol are all risk factors for stroke, the researchers noted.
This isn't an attempt to needlessly scare people, but a note that it's important for everyone to know the signs of a stroke and know what to do.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Shuffling gait might be clue of mini-stroke history

We all see people shuffling rather than walking, often associated with older people. Now, a study showed how transient ischemic attacks - or TIAs, may cause the shuffling gait of old age:
The small strokes may impair their ability to walk, balance and function just the same.

Scientists examined the brains of 418 priests and nuns after they died. The researchers found that one-third of the brains that had seemed normal using conventional tests while the people were alive actually had damage to tiny blood vessels. The damage was so slight it was impossible to see without a microscope.

The people whose brains had these tiny signs of hardened arteries and stroke were most likely to have had shuffling gait and other movement problems while they were still alive.
What good is this info? Well, a mini-stroke is a warning that a bigger one is on the way. So an unexplained shuffling gait might mean the person should take precautions - watching blood pressure, for example, and seeing a doctor about this - to perhaps prevent a more devastating stroke.