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