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Posts Tagged ‘stroke’

What To Do About A Stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is suddenly altered. This can occur when a clot in a blood vessel blocks blood flow to brain tissue, or when a burst blood vessel causes a part of the brain to drown in its own blood. These conditions cause brain cells to die or at least become damaged, which can cause temporary or permanent changes in body and mind function. Every year, 800,000 Americans have a stroke.

A transient ischemic attack, also called a mini stroke, is a temporary stroke-like condition that usually resolves in a number of hours. TIAs are often a warning of a future, more serious stroke.

These are some risk factors for a stroke:

– Age: Most strokes occur in older adults, but as many as a quarter of them strike people younger than 65.

– Family history: This is especially true if a sibling or a parent has had a stroke.

– Gender: Men have strokes more than women. Pregnant women are at risk, however.

– High blood pressure, increased cholesterol, and smoking

– Diabetes

– Heart disease, especially atrial fibrillation

Signs and symptoms of a stroke include numbness or weakness of one side of the face, arm or leg; sudden difficulty speaking, remembering, or thinking; trouble with vision or swallowing; sudden difficulty walking or balancing; and sudden severe headache.

There is a clot-busting medication that can stop most strokes in their tracks if given promptly enough. Guidelines call for this drug to be given within 4½ hours of the very first sign of a stroke. Dominican Hospital here in Santa Cruz has this treatment available.

If you, a loved one or friend is having a stroke, do not go to your doctor’s office or to an urgent-care clinic. Call 911 and be taken by ambulance to the hospital. Research shows that people who arrive at the hospital by ambulance get there faster, get seen faster and are more likely to get necessary treatment in time to prevent permanent brain damage. Do not hesitate or delay. Don’t worry about a “false alarm.” Better safe than sorry.

If you think someone is having a stroke, the National Stroke Association recommends the F.A.S.T. test:

– “F” stands for face. Ask the affected person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

– “A” stands for arm. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one drift downward?

– “S” stands for speech. Is speech slurred?

– “T” stands for time. Call 911. Get the person to hospital ASAP.

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Interesting facts from medical literature

Beginning today, I will occasionally share with you some interesting facts from articles I have read during my review of current medical literature.

Did you know:

  • Skin cancer on the head or neck is more deadly than on other parts of the body.
  • 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week can reduce blood pressure between 5 and 8 points
  • Extensive use of flip-flop shoes can cause pain in the heel, ankle, lower leg and toes.
  • Pessimistic heart patients are almost twice as likely to die within six to 10 years as heart patients with an optimistic outlook.
  • Trans fats, found in many processed foods, not only increase the risk of heart disease but also increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 9-1-1, then chew and swallow one 325 mg. aspirin
  • Exercising in water burns more calories than doing the same exercise on land.
  • People, who engage in vigorous cardiovascular activities regardless of their size, are healthier and live longer than their sedentary counterparts.
  • Fish oil may help to ease depression.
  • To halt a lower leg calf cramp, flex your foot by pointing it up toward your shin. You can grab and pull the toes and ball of your foot to help flex it.
  • Sixteen percent of people between the ages of 20 to 69 suffer significant hearing loss.
  • Memory loss is linked to low levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol
  • The spread of flu is linked to airline travel. The fewer people who travel by airline over the Thanksgiving holiday, in particular, the slower the flu moves across the country.
  • Vitamin C may fight wrinkles.
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol leads to increased risk of pre-diabetes.
  • Eating or drinking food high in cocoa improves blood flow to the brain and may help prevent stroke and dementia.
  • People with type 2 adult onset diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease, mostly because of increasing cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Those who receive the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine may be at a lesser risk of heart attacks.
  • Adult muscle mass decreases by 1 percent a year after the age of 30.
  • Drinking up to three cups a day of black or green tea reduced stroke risk by 21 percent.
  • Symptoms of depression can be improved by eating less processed sugary foods and increasing foods such as grains and vegetables.
  • For acute low back pain, a day or two of bed rest may be helpful. For more rapid healing, it is best to get out of bed and move around as soon as possible.
  • Newer cooking recipes have larger portion sizes. Stay conscious of portion size when eating.
  • Drowsy driving is linked to 100,000 motor vehicle accidents causing 1,000 deaths and 40,000 injuries.
  • Accidents with dogs and cats cause 80,000 emergency room visits annually for their owners in the United States.

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