Thursday, December 27, 2012

A holiday gift - resources about ending stroke

Mayo Clinic, on resource-rich website, offers some Holiday health hints and the faces of stroke prevention:
I learned earlier this year while working on a project that the biggest risk for a stroke is to have had one already. I also found that the incidence of stroke – and heart attacks – increases at the holiday season.
Read through the article to find stories, videos and links.

Monday, December 24, 2012

'The Lazarus effect'

[This was originally posted Dec. 24, 2009]
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone," he said.
"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."
Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

Not long ago (2008), I heard a presentation by one of the doctors responsible for making tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) available to stroke patients.

In my own 1998 experience, I could not speak, I could not move my right arm or leg - but after the clot-busting tPA, I regained those abilities. It was a dramatic experience. The doctor called it "the Lazarus effect."

It made me think of the story of Lazarus - see above - in John's gospel. Once there was no hope. A man's  sisters, relatives and friends knew they lost him. Jesus entered. Hope returned.

How about this world? On a cold night so long ago, a world needed this Lazarus effect. Today, this world needs it as well. On that first Christmas, God gave the world the Lazarus effect: a new beginning, a new covenant, a new life. Today, you can receive your own Lazarus effect.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stroke is a global issue

Stroke is not just a killer in the United States, of course - a recent article highlighted the global burden of heart- and stroke-related deaths:
Ischemic heart disease and stroke caused almost 13 million deaths in 2010 — one in four deaths — worldwide, compared with just one in five back in 1990. ...
In a second paper tracking the burden of disease related to 67 risk factors, Dr Stephen S Lim (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Seattle, WA) and colleagues report that the top two risk factors for disease in 2010 were high blood pressure and tobacco use ... .

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Distress and age: a dangerous combination

The older I get, the more interested I become in senior health. A recent note about how fatal strokes strike distressed seniors:
"People should be aware that stress and negative emotions often increase with age," Everson-Rose noted in a statement. "Family members and caregivers need to recognize these emotions have a profound effect on health."
How exactly the link works isn't clear, whether due to neuroendocrine and inflammatory responses to stress and depression or via poorer lifestyle factors associated with them, her group acknowledged.
In the study, the most distressed seniors were less educated, less physically active, and had more chronic health conditions and antidepressant use -- all of which may add up to problems with medication adherence and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More research needed to address stroke risks for blacks

Ran across a story about research that shows that more research is clearly needed to find some answers and solutions.

Here's a link and excerpt of a recent story about how blood pressure-related stroke risk in blacks is not about race:
"When these racial differences are coupled with the previously documented higher prevalence of hypertension and poorer control of hypertension in blacks, they may account for much of the racial disparity in stroke risk," they wrote.
It has been well established that stroke risk is higher in blacks than in whites, but traditional risk factors explain only about half of the difference. One potential explanation for the rest of the variance is that certain risk factors affect blacks and whites differently, a possibility explored in the current study.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Frankie Muniz, 26, tweets about his 'mini-stroke'

Stroke awareness, even for the young, is important! Note the recent story about Frankie Muniz, 26, tweeting about his mini-stroke:
"I was in the hospital last Friday. I suffered a 'Mini Stroke,' which was not fun at all. Have to start taking care of my body! Getting old!," the young actor tweeted today.
He did not explain why, and according to TMZ, doctors are still stumped, awaiting test results. TMZ says Muniz was taken to an Arizona emergency room after his friends became alarmed when they noticed he was acting strange, and having trouble speaking and understanding.
Remember those signs, as explained by the National Stroke Association:

F = Face
• Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A = Arms
• Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = Speech
• Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can the person repeat the sentence correctly?

T = Time
• If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 911 or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Stroke linked to drug abuse

We've seen news about the increase of stroke among younger people. Now, another study seems to show that strokes are tied to drug abuse:
An increase in stroke in the young parallels an increase in substance abuse, particularly cocaine and marijuana, according to a study of records from the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.
The number of strokes in those ages 18 to 54 increased from 297 in 1994 to 501 in 2005, mirroring a similar trend in the overall use of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs (45% versus 62%), reported Brett Kissela, MD, of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and colleagues.
Blacks and men were disproportionately affected compared with whites and women (65% versus 51% and 61% versus 47%, respectively), according to the study published in the December issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

'I am the light of the world'

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
This is the 500th posting on this blog - started in December 2005 and for many years, updated sporadically. Now, it's generally updated two or three times a week and has a companion Facebook page and Twitter feed.

I chose the verse above, from John's Gospel, because as a stroke survivor, I stumbled in the dark, in a blur of barely recalled images, while others were steadfastly working to keep me alive.

Now, Jesus is not talking about physical light, but spiritual light. So even if we are in the dark times in this world, you have the promise of the light of life that means so much more.

Now, on to the next 500 postings...

(Photo from NASA; text added by author)