Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fewer people now rely on rat poison anticoagulant

Before smartphones, I had a voice-recorder device that gave me reminders and recorded lists and notes. I could record a reminder and tell it when to remind me. So every day around 5 in the afternoon, I'd get this reminder: "Take the rat poison."

That is, warfarin, also know as Coumadin. And it really can be - in a somewhat different dosage - rat poison. Read here about that.

I took warfarin for years after my stroke in 1998, requiring monthly blood tests to make sure it was effective in preventing blood clots that could lead to a stroke.

Problem is, it also had its own dangers - bruising, bleeding excessively from even a small cut, and internal bleeding, to name a few. I had some pretty ugly bruises myself during my warfarin years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Stroke, aphasia have no political convictions

I've tried to avoid politics on this blog. A stroke doesn't care about your political convictions - strokes kill and disable too many people regardless of their political stripes.

Aphasia, too, is a too-common condition with stroke survivors. It affects speech. In my case, I stopped speaking for a few hours, struggled with speaking for weeks and still - at least in my own mind - must concentrate harder to speak. Fortunately, aphasia doesn't affect intelligence. Click here to read more about aphasia.

But politics and aphasia collided recently when a spokesperson from the Donald Trump presidential campaign diagnosed opponent Hillary Clinton with "dysphasia," another word for aphasia.

The National Aphasia Association responded:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sleep - reducing stroke risk, boosting recovery

I know people who wish they didn't have to sleep so much. Sometimes I wish that, thinking how much more I can accomplish.

Then you read stories like this, linking sleep problems to stroke risk, recovery:
In addition, sleep problems can affect recovery from a stroke, according to the report.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

It's not just money - it's affecting lives

Earlier this week, there was a posting about young people and strokes. Today, it's about the cost of care for elderly stroke survivors.

Now, cost is not a pleasant topic. It smacks of talk about death squads, rationing and other politically divisive terms.

But, how about we do agree on this: Preventing a stroke can save lives and resources that can always be used elsewhere. So, keep in mind stroke prevention in reading how caring for elderly stroke survivors costs an estimated $40 billion per year:
Using data from a national survey of Medicare beneficiaries, the team compared 892 elderly self-reported stroke survivors to 892 non-stroke controls, accounting for demographics and other health conditions, like hypertension, coronary heart disease or dementia.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Myth No. 3: Strokes are just for elderly people

I was 39. And I'm not the only one, not by far - scores of people younger than me have had strokes. Thus another installment of the occasional series about myths about strokes.

Strokes do not recognize your age. It can happen to the young or the old. Check out the chilling facts about how hospitalizations are rising quickly among younger adults:
Because strokes are most often associated with old age, symptoms in younger adults are often overlooked, according to patients, advocates and physicians. And their need for rehabilitation – to return to active lives as parents and employees, for instance – can be underestimated.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Keys to survival include speed and expertise

Where are stroke centers? Click here for a map and a list, at least according to The Internet Stroke Center.

It stands to reason that stroke centers are the place to take stroke patients - as long as you can get to one relatively quickly. Read here about the question are stroke centers life savers?:
The odds of surviving a stroke are slightly better for patients treated at hospitals with a specialized stroke department, known as primary stroke centers, a new study finds.
But that benefit was only seen if stroke patients got to a stroke center in less than 90 minutes, the study authors said.
"Treatment of stroke is very time sensitive. As the saying goes, time is brain," said lead researcher Dr. Kimon Bekelis.
"So the faster you intervene, the faster the patient recovers," he said.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Another chapter of: To close or not to close

A still from the video of my PFO closure.
Click here to watch a video.
The arguments continue: To close or not to close.

Back in 2007, after a mini-stroke that spring, I had a heart procedure designed to close a hole in my heart called a patent foramen ovale (PFO). It's a hole between the upper two chambers of the heart and was blamed for my 1998 stroke and the 2007 mini-stroke. I was taking a blood-thinner at the time.

You can read the story about the procedure, including video, by following this link.

Now, the American Academy of Neurology says we should not routinely close the hole. Others disagree. Click on the link after reading this snippet on how AAN nixes routine PFO closure:
Patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure is not recommended as a routine therapy for patients with cryptogenic ischemic stroke, according to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).