Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hole in the heart - patching or not patching?

My own stroke was blamed on a hole in my heart - a patent foramen ovale, or an opening between the two upper chambers of the heart. The opening was closed in 2007. To read more about that, you can follow this link.

Researchers have been back and forth on whether closing the hole is a good idea or not. The most recent discussion made more sense - to this layman - and how for some, the closure makes sense. For others, not as much.

For example, relatively young people with a combination of the hole and an atrial septal aneurysm - that's when the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart is bulging - might benefit more. That was my case.

So follow this link to read more about the results of PFO closure in the long term:
While patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure still doesn't pan out for overall outcomes in long-term follow-up, the procedure does what it is supposed to in terms of reducing recurrent cryptogenic strokes, particularly for younger adults, the RESPECT trial showed.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Stressed out? Then watch out - this might happen to you

Photo by bottled_void from Flickr
I was in a stressful situation - by my own making and ambition - when my stroke happened. Did that increase my risk?

A bit of an unanswerable question at this late date, but there's some research that might indicate a link that a high strain job increases stroke risk:
The association between exposure to high job strain and an increased risk of stroke was particularly pronounced in ischemic stroke and in women but not in hemorrhagic stroke or in men, according to Dingli Xu, MD, of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China, and colleagues. ...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The story of the unknown unknowns

The famous quote about the "unknown unknowns" is back. Check out the video for some background, then read on.

My stroke was an "unknown" - unexplained at the time. It was later explained as a hole between the two upper chambers of my heart, also known as a patent foramen ovale. Click here to read more about PFO, strokes and heart repair.

Recently, experts had an interesting discussion about finding out the causes of unexplained - or cryptogenic - strokes.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

'My hope is in you'

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
We're all coached to pin our hopes to something human-made.

Buy this, and you'll be good-looking. Purchase that, and you'll be popular. Drink this, you'll have more friends. Eat that, and you'll lose all the weight you want. Subscribe to this, and all your problems are resolved.

Too often, people pin their hopes on hollow dreams, as directed by entertainment and advertising. I certainly have fallen into this trap.

Consider this Psalm verse. We've looked and looked for hope. Time to place our hope is in God.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Time to up the game for stroke treatment

Photo by Chris Violette via Flickr
During the last couple of decades, we've seen some upgrade in care for stroke patients.

But this can't stop. Treatment could be so much better.

Check out the story on how experts call for care upgrade:
Patients suspected of having a stroke should be transported to an accredited comprehensive stroke center (CSC) when it is reasonable to do so, they wrote. When a CSC is too far away, patients should be taken to the nearest primary stroke center (PSC) that is linked to a CSC by telemedicine. They also called for the expansion of telemedicine networks linking smaller, non-PSC hospitals in very rural communities to accredited stroke centers.
"The qualifications for these PSCs and CSCs should be upgraded so that imaging technology and the availability of neurologists to see patients 24/7 should be requisites," the editorialists wrote. "Systems for rapid imaging and throughput should be in place at these centers."

Thursday, October 08, 2015

'Let him have all your worries and cares'

Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.
Lately, this blog has featured a lot of Bible verses - with the theme of troubles and worries.

Why? I am not certain. I seem to have been led down this route. Perhaps these were written for a particular person out there in Internetland. Perhaps for something in my own life that has yet to develop. Perhaps for a reason yet to be determined.

For whatever reason, we can all consider these verses - we will all face worries sooner or later. Let God have those worries.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Vaccinations and stroke prevention

Got your flu shot?
Photo from futureatlast.com via Flickr

That's important, especially for children. Now, it's seems that child vaccinations might lower stroke risk:
Although respiratory tract infection may act as a trigger for childhood arterial ischemic stroke (AIS), routine vaccinations appear protective, a large, international case-control study has shown.
"Our findings provide reassurance that vaccinations do not increase stroke risk, and may even reduce risk," Heather Fullerton, MD, MAS, of the University of California San Francisco and colleagues reported online in Neurology.
A childhood stroke must be devastating. Now, here's one possibility to reduce those chances.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

'Do not worry about tomorrow'

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Famous words from a famous event. This comes from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was addressing a crowd on a hillside. This is one of many, many often-references words.

And boy, do I need these words.

Do you ever had stress in your life? At the end of a day, say, your head is already filled with what is likely facing you tomorrow? It's hard to break that routine, isn't it?

So read the entire sermon - Matthews 5 through 7 - to get a real feel of what Jesus was saying.

Whenever I read it, I come away with a new thought. So before I wrote this, this thought came to me: Jesus isn't saying that worry is a sin. Instead, he's trying to comfort a crowd of people who, like those of today, can be worry-ridden. Comfort we should all heed and take to heart.

What are your thoughts?