Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Modifiable stroke risks still rising across all ages, races

Most - not all, but most - strokes are preventable. Experts have been know for years that risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol. All addressable issues. Yet, as NPR reported not long ago, modifiable stroke risks are still rising across all ages and races:
For years, doctors have been warning us that high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, illegal drug use and diabetes increase our chances of having a potentially fatal stroke.
And yet, most of the stroke patients showing up at hospitals from 2004 to 2014 had one or more of these risk factors. And the numbers of people at risk in this way tended to grow among all age groups and ethnicities in that time period. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

TIAs: Don't call them ministrokes

I've called them ministrokes before, but this article from U.S. News makes me re-think that phrase. It contends that you shouldn't call transient ischemic attacks ministrokes:
Yet, while 35 percent of adults in the U.S. have had symptoms suggestive of a TIA, only 3 percent of them called 911 for help, according to a recent online survey of more than 2,000 people by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. That’s a mistake, experts say. If you have symptoms of a stroke or TIA, “don't wait it out,” advises Dr. Dion F. Graybeal, medical director of stroke at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. “Take these symptoms seriously and call 911.” If it’s a real stroke, every minute counts in terms of getting treatment and reducing the risk of permanent disability. And if it’s a TIA, “it’s an opportunity to intervene and hopefully stop a process or condition that could cause a stroke with disability in the future,” Graybeal says.
It’s better to be safe than sorry because if you have stroke-like symptoms, it’s difficult to tell immediately if you’re having a TIA or a full-blown stroke, says Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. So it’s important to get to the hospital as soon as possible, There, you will most likely have a CT scan, a CT angiogram, an MRI or an MR angiogram of your brain and the blood vessels in your head to look for a blood clot and evidence of damage to the brain. If damage isn’t apparent and the symptoms have resolved, the episode will be deemed a TIA. But if there is evidence of damage to areas of the brain, the event will be diagnosed as a stroke, even if the symptoms have gone away, Goldstein says.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Stopping aspirin therapy may raise heart attack, stroke risk

Aspirin - cheap and perhaps lifesaving. So read how stopping aspirin therapy may raise heart attack, stroke risk:
Stopping low-dose aspirin therapy without good reason raises the likelihood of heart attack or stroke by nearly 40 percent, a large Swedish study suggests.
Doctors commonly prescribe daily low-dose aspirin after a heart attack to reduce the risk of having a second cardiovascular event. But about one in six patients stop taking their aspirin within three years, the study authors note in Circulation.