Thursday, June 27, 2013

Drug combo may reduce risk of second stroke

I was on aspirin and Plavix for several years to prevent a second stroke. I eventually had a mini-stroke (or a transient ischemic attack) anyway. Still, more info to discuss with your own doctor. Check out this article about how a study shows this drug combo may reduce risk of second stroke:
After suffering a stroke or a mini-stroke, patients are usually given aspirin to prevent clots that can cause another stroke. Now a new study suggests that adding the drug Plavix (clopidogrel) to the mix can reduce the risk of a second stroke by nearly a third over aspirin alone. ...
"Giving two drugs that block platelets works a lot better than aspirin alone in people who have had a minor stroke or TIA," said researcher Dr. S. Claiborne Johnston, a professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.
The trial was done in China, so whether the results would be the same in the United States isn't known. "They probably are, but we would like to see them confirmed," Johnston said.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nearly 1 in 4 stroke survivors develop PTSD, study shows

I must agree with the study author, quoted here: "Strokes are among the most terrifying life-threatening events."

Read about a study showing that nearly 1 in 4 stroke survivors develop PTSD:
A stroke may leave some survivors with post-traumatic stress disorder, which may hinder their recovery, according to a study released... .
About 23% of patients who survive a stroke or transient ischemic attack, a brief interruption of blood flow to the brain, have PTSD symptoms within a year, the study finds. About 11% have chronic PTSD, in which symptoms last three months or longer, more than a year later. The study, led by Columbia University Medical Center researchers, was published online ... in the journal PLOS ONE.
"Strokes are among the most terrifying life-threatening events," says lead author Donald Edmondson."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

For stroke patients, every minute counts

A study recently showed the power of time - in 15 minute increments. For clot-type strokes, every quarter-hour delay getting to help can mean more likelihood of a poorer outcome.

While the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen (tPA) has its limitations, getting to a hospital too late has its own ramifications.

Click on the link to read how every minute counts for stroke victims, study confirms:
Rapid treatment with a clot-dissolving drug reduces stroke patients' risk of in-hospital death and increases their chances of being able to walk and return home when they leave the hospital, according to the study, published in the June 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. ...
For every 15-minute faster start of tPA therapy, patients were less likely to die or have an intracranial hemorrhage, and were more likely to walk and be sent home when discharged from the hospital, according to the study.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Better heart health brings lower stroke risk

Left from last week, here's one more take about reducing stroke risks with this emphasis: "...small changes in lifestyle can have a huge impact in reducing stroke burden."

Read more about how better heart health brings lower stroke risk:
The risk of incident stroke was significantly lower for individuals who had average or optimum cardiovascular health compared with those who had poor cardiovascular health based on the organizations' Life's Simple 7 (LS7) score, which incorporates three health factors and four lifestyle factors, according to Ambar Kulshreshtha, MD, MPH, of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues.
"Our study supports this idea that making small changes in lifestyle can have a huge impact in reducing stroke burden," Kulshreshtha said in an interview, adding, however, that it remains to be tested which multidisciplinary interventions will work at the population level to reduce the burden of stroke.
The AHA/ASA released the framework that would become Life's Simple 7 in 2010. The score incorporates information on blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, body mass index, smoking, physical activity, and diet to provide an assessment of cardiovascular health.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The big three stroke risk factors

Another way to look at stroke risk factors and prevention takes a look at the three biggest risk factors for a stroke:
As we've done in recent months by examining the risk factors and treatments associated with the most common types of cancer and diabetes, I propose to more closely examine the three biggest risk factors that can cause a stroke, discuss what treatment options exist, if any, to help mitigate that risk, and as always, discuss what investment potential these top treatments may have for your portfolio.

According to the CDC, there are three big factors that can lead to stroke:
Medical conditions.
Behavioral factors.
Hereditary factors.
And again - it's important to pay attention and take control where you can. The life you save might be your own.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stroke prevention factors

So many people can reduce their stroke risk - preventing events that can cause disability or death. Check out this recent article on how your stroke risk can shrink with 7 lifestyle changes:
Certain lifestyle changes could greatly reduce your stroke risk, according to a new study.
Researchers calculated stroke risk among nearly 23,000 black and white Americans aged 45 and older. Their risk was assessed using the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 health factors: be active, control cholesterol, eat a healthy diet, manage blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight, control blood sugar and don't smoke. ...
"Compared to those with poor blood pressure status, those who were ideal had a 60 percent lower risk of future stroke," study senior author Dr. Mary Cushman, a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington, said in a journal news release.
Note that many of the risk factors cited can be at least partially controlled. Not every stroke can be prevented. But many are preventable.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Stroke network leads to better outcomes

A story worth following - a stroke network leads to better outcomes:
Stroke care networks save lives and reduce the need for long-term care, a study of one of the largest and longest operating networks confirmed.
The networks are designed to integrate the delivery of stroke treatment across regions to optimize the chances that patients will receive timely, evidence-based therapies even if they don't live near a designated stroke center.
"After the stroke network was introduced there were clear improvements in the quality of stroke care," Kapral told MedPage Today. "More patients were treated with optimal stroke care interventions, such as thrombolysis, including clot-busting drugs, and stroke-unit care."
Here in the U.S., I've seen too many examples of uncoordinated care.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

'For everything in heaven and earth is yours'

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
    and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
    for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
    you are exalted as head over all.
This verse from Chronicles happens to be today's verse on the blog (June 4, 2013).

It speaks to me of God's greatness and power, but also that God shares this world with us, with its glory, majesty and splendor.

On some days, those things are harder to see - we've all been in situations where we don't see the glory, majesty and splendor. Know that God is there to help you through those times, with his power and love.

(Photo from NASA; text added by author)