Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Basic facts about strokes -- they might save a life

May is Stroke Awareness Month. And here's a quick rundown on basic stroke facts, including signs and symptoms. Here's some of what you need to know about strokes:
During a stroke, nearly 120 million brain cells die every hour. Compared with the normal rate of brain aging, the brain ages 3.6 years each hour during a stroke. The sooner a patient receives care, the better the chances of recovery.
About 66 percent of strokes are spotted by a bystander, but less than half of Americans know the common warning signs and symptoms of stroke, which can be remembered using the acronym FAST -- (F) face drooping, (A) arm weakness, (S) speech difficulty, (T) time to call 911.
Other stroke symptoms include sudden numbness, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden severe headache with no known cause and sudden trouble walking.
The fastest way for stroke patients to receive treatment is by calling 911. Driving to the hospital is a common mistake people make, and it can result in longer wait times before the patient receives care.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Today is the 20th anniversary of my own stroke

It was 20 years ago today – the day I nearly died.

You can click here to read some details about my stroke on May 8, 1998, or here to read more about my treatment.

To this day, I thank God for everyone who helped me survive that day.

I always approach my stroke’s anniversary with mixed feelings. As I’ve said before, this blog isn’t about me, but about faith and stroke awareness. So I try not to dwell on that anniversary every year.

I even gave a great deal of thought about retiring this blog today. I certainly have slowed down in my posts here. Life has the habit of getting in the way.

But instead, I’ve decided keep this blog around, at least for a time. No promises on how frequently I’ll post.

And again, it’s not really about me. So I invite you to share your own story in the comments.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Saunas seem to help lower blood pressure, might prevent strokes

Now, here's some news I can appreciate - saunas might lower stroke risk:
Middle-aged and elderly men and women who had four to seven hot, dry sauna bathing sessions a week were 60% less likely to have a stroke over a 15-year period than those who had one weekly session, reported Setor Kunutsor, PhD, of the University of Bristol, U.K., and colleagues online in Neurology.
These results "are very strong and consistent, given that we have previously shown that sauna use reduces the risk of cardiovascular mortality," Kunutsor told MedPage Today.
Saunas -- which are found in nearly every home in Finland -- have been linked to lower cardiovascular disease and overall mortality, but have not been studied in stroke until now.
"Sauna appears to have a blood pressure-lowering effect," Kunutsor said. "Since the majority of strokes can be attributed to hypertension, sauna use may reduce the risk of stroke via reduction in blood pressure." Sauna also may stimulate the immune system, stabilize the autonomic nervous system, and reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, arterial stiffness, and vascular resistance, he noted 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Everywhere in the world, time is critical for stroke care

It's not just in the United States where stroke patients aren't getting to the emergency department in time. Check out the story from Ireland how over 60pc of stroke patients not arriving on time:
More than 60pc of people who suffer a stroke are not making it to hospital emergency departments in the ideal time frame, specialists warned yesterday.
The success of acute treatment of stroke is extremely time-dependent, the Oireachtas Health Committee was told.
The doctors called for a relaunch of the Act-FAST campaign, which raised awareness among the public about being aware of the symptoms of a stroke.
Prof Rónán Collins, Dr Diarmuid O'Shea and Prof Ken McDonald were appearing before the committee.
The doctors said that a "third to a half of all strokes may be prevented through lifestyle change, management of blood pressure and identification of an irregular heart rhythm".
A "nationwide approach to cardiovascular disease prevention is needed", they said.
Admission to a stroke unit is the foundation of all stroke care and reduces death and disability by 25pc.
"To achieve optimum patient outcomes, all acute stroke patients should be managed in an acute stroke unit," they said.
(Photo from leppre via Flickr)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

'Don't be afraid, for I am with you'

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Fear, discouragement, weakness - we've all had those feelings.

If you've followed the last couple of postings (click here for the first one, here for the second), you'll know that I'm recovering from eye surgery, with the likelihood that I'm going to have one or two more procedures on my left eye.

As mentioned before, the vision in that eye is blurry. Slowly improving, but blurry. That makes it a little slow to write blog postings (please excuse any typos), emails and other computer tasks. So I need words - like those from Isaiah - to bring encouragement and hope.

And I hope these words help in your own struggles.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

'Wait patiently for the Lord'

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
A followup from the last posting - about dealing with worries. I'm also needing some patience.

I'm currently waiting for my left eye to heal from surgery. As this is being written, it's blurry and not really focused.

So I  could use a dose of patience. I want my vision to be stable now. But the healing process requires time, potentially months. So in addition to bring my worries to God in prayer, I need to wait patiently as my eye heals.

How do you wait patiently for the Lord?

Friday, February 16, 2018

'Do not be anxious about anything'

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Lately, it's been hard not to be anxious.

Back in January, I learned that I had a detached retina in my left eye. By Jan. 15, I had the first of two procedures to correct the problem.

That seemed to fix it, but it erupted in a different spot in the same eye, so in late January I had surgery. Now, my left eye's vision is blurry, as expected after surgery. It's slowly improving. Slowly. And it's likely I'll need to have one or two more procedures for the same eye.

It's easy to fall into anxiety and worry about that vision as it slowly returns. But I'm trying - sometimes successfully - to place those worries in God's hands through prayer.

Paul offered these words to the Philippians to ease anxiety. How do you handle your own worries?