Strokes are a serious health issue, but early treatment may minimize the effects. Give you and your loved ones the best chance at recovery by learning the basic facts about strokes.
Know the Facts About Strokes
1. STROKE: What is it? Strokes are events that interrupt blood flow to the brain. Some people make a full recovery, but most survivors experience some degree of disability. Strokes can be caused by a blood clot or when a blood vessel breaks.
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2. Understand the prevalence. No one is exempt from a stroke. It is sneaky and can creep up on anyone. Anyone can have a stroke. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. The good news is that 80% of strokes can be prevented.
3. Learn how to recognize the symptoms. The symptoms of a stroke depend on where in the brain they occur and the severity of the event. Common signs include:
*** sudden numbness or loss of movement, especially if it affects only one side of your body. Other indicators are
*** mental confusion, disorientation
***headaches, pain, or tightness felt on the head
***trouble with vision can be blurred vision, double vision, or partial blindness
*** Slurred speech
*** and sudden onset of impaired balance.
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***incoordination (Ex: cannot hold a spoon, drops objects)
***hemi-weakness, or weakness on one side of the body or the leg: leg or hand can feel heavy
***Facial asymmetry (one side of face droops)
*** When asked to stick out tongue, tongue drifts to one side
***Drooling on one side of the mouth
4. Know the uncontrollable risk factors. Some factors are beyond our control. These include being past the age of 55 or having a family history of strokes. Men and certain ethnic groups like African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are also at higher risk.
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5. Manage the controllable risks. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk. A healthy lifestyle will help keep your brain and whole body strong. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, also contribute to the likelihood of stroke, so that’s another good reason to manage them correctly.
6. Distinguish between different kinds of strokes. There are two major forms of stroke:
· An ischemic stroke is related to a blood clot to any region in the brain and requires restoring the blood flow.
· A hemorrhagic stroke indicates bleeding and calls for controlling blood loss, as in an aneurysm.
7. Know what are mini-strokes. The technical term for mini-strokes is transient ischemic attacks (TIA) where a blood vessel is briefly blocked.
FACT: Up to half of all strokes occur within two days after a TIA so act promptly if you notice slurred speech or blurry vision.
Preventing and Treating Strokes
1. Seek emergency care. The first hours after a stroke are a crucial opportunity to minimize brain damage. Go to the hospital immediately or call 911. Fast action makes all the difference.
2. Consult with your doctor. Surgery is sometimes needed but many strokes are treated with medication and lifestyle changes. Your doctor can advise you on the best regimen for you.
3. Quit smoking. Giving up tobacco lowers your risk of stroke in addition to all the other benefits. Check out the website of the American Lung Association for tips on quitting.
4. Drop or control that weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight will also help. Find a sensible diet you can stick with for life.
5. Exercise regularly. Physical activity is good for your brain and waistline. Keep your circulatory system in prime condition with a half-hour aerobic workout at least a few days a week.
6. Eat a balanced diet. Proper nutrition provides your brain cells with the fuel they need. Get most of your calories from vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Select lean sources of protein and healthy fats.
7. Easy and be smart with your alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can increase your risk for a stroke due to elevated or high blood pressure. After a hemorrhagic stroke, avoid drinking alcohol weeks after and consult your doctor when it is safe for you to consume some. This is also because some medications prescribed after a stroke prohibits alcohol use and can even become fatal.
Using alcohol responsibly protects you from strokes. The general guidelines are two drinks or less daily for men and one for women.
Prompt medical treatment is vital to improve your chances of survival and recovery after a stroke. A healthy lifestyle, as always, can significantly reduce the risk of you or a loved one ever experiencing such an event.
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Why you should start walking every day!
It’s not necessary to train like an Olympic athlete to be healthy. In fact, too much exercise is actually less healthy.
The maximum health benefits from exercise can be reached with a modest routine.
Doing more will make you fitter, but not healthier. You also increase the likelihood of injury.
Walking is a natural activity that almost anyone can do. There are numerous health benefits to be gained from regular, brisk walking. Your overall health, brain, waistline, and mental health are all enhanced by walking.
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THE HEEL TO TOE PATTERN
This is the ideal walking pattern as it encourages you to contract the quadriceps muscles to lock and stabilize the knee for a better grip on the ground. It also ensures a stable knee at heel strike, that moment where the heel is in full contact with the ground.
Do not forget to put on comfortable shoes or footwear that absorbs impact especially when you are walking on concrete. The spine is subjected to an impact of three to four times your body weight as your heel strikes the ground.
SAFETY DURING YOUR WALKS
Bring a walking stick or a cane to stabilize yourself if it is grass or uneven ground you are walking through. Not bad for keeping away stray territorial pet dogs in the neighborhood! If necessary because of some physical difficulty, use a walker! It will ensure your safety and stability while enjoying the walk.
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Walk your way to good health
1. Control blood glucose levels. A 15-minute walk after a meal has been shown to lower blood sugar in those with glucose control issues.
The risk of type-2 diabetes is lowered by 60% in those that walk daily.
2. Walking enhances brain health. What better way to keep that brain working? Walking has been shown to boost grades, memory, and creativity. Who knew you could get smarter, slimmer, and healthier from the simple act of taking a walk?
3. Walking is a great opportunity to think and make decisions. A brisk walk takes you out of your home or office. A change in scenery can clear your mind and provide the mental space necessary to make a wise decision.
4. Strengthen your heart. Even a modest pace is enough to keep your heart in good shape.
Walking has been shown to lower levels of bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol.
Walking is also good for your blood pressure. Walking reduces your risk of heart attacks and stroke. Thirty minutes a day is all it takes.
5. Control weight. A walk won’t undo the ravages of a triple bacon cheeseburger, but it does burn a few calories. More importantly, walking helps to keep your metabolism in shape. Excess calories are dealt with more effectively.
6. Walking is cheap and easy. Aside from a pair of shoes, and even shoes are optional, you don’t need anything to go for a walk. There’s no complex skill to learn or expensive equipment to purchase.
Walking is an option for nearly anyone, regardless of age or current fitness level.
It’s easy on your joints and carries a minimal risk of injury.
7. Lift your mood. If you’re feeling a little blue, a short walk can give a needed boost to your morale. Those that walk regularly report having a better mood than those that don’t.
8. Reduce stress. Take walk the next time you’re feeling stressed. Walking attacks stress in two ways. It can take your mind off your challenges. It also metabolizes the biochemical and neurotransmitters that create the physiological feelings and symptoms of stress.
9. Increase your lifespan. The number of years you can expect to gain from 2.5 hours of walking each week is at least 3-4. Not bad for results from an activity that most people find enjoyable.
New Year has just passed us. How is your New Year’s resolution going?
Imagine how much you could strengthen your health with a New Year’s resolution to walk for 30 minutes at least four times each week.
Let go of your belief that you need to sweat and strain at the gym to be healthy. Exercise can be more comfortable than that. It can be a great quality time with a loved one or loved ones!
Add a daily walk to your routine. After dinner is an ideal time. Take the entire family out for a stroll each evening. Take your beloved fur baby for a walk. They’ll love you more for it.
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You will all benefit from and enjoy the time spent together. If you regularly avoid exercise, a simple walking routine can be an effective way to get the exercise you need without the headache of driving to a gym.
Until the next article!
Patrick Diver, Owner of Strength Clinic at www.mystrengthclinic.com .(I requested this friend to share his take on stress.)
For over 15 years, Patrick has led the way to exceptional fitness results for a diverse range of Orlando men and women and has supervised over 25,000 injury-free workouts.
A graduate of Missouri State University with a B.S. in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training, Patrick’s first certification came from the National Athletic Trainers Association and was followed by certifications from Superslow innovator Ken Hutchins (Superslow Exercise Guild) and YMCA research director Wayne Wescott (Nautilus).
Patrick also speaks regularly and has been featured on Fox-35, News Channel 13, and had given over 150 fitness talks to many of Central Florida’s most successful companies including Darden Restaurants, Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, Universal Creative, and the Orlando Economic Development Commission.
Besides a passion for helping men and women realize their best physical potential, Patrick competes regularly in cycling with multiple states, regional, and national championship medals to his credit, and enjoys playing guitar and taking care of his dog, named Dog.
Stress: Is it good, bad, needed, or unwanted?
I believe most things in life necessitate a balanced approach: The Yin and Yang if you will. I think stress falls in this umbrella as well. We need a certain amount of stress in life. Without it, it is easy to become stagnant and cease growing.
In my field, muscle tissue is a good example. You’ve probably heard that when you add and develop muscle tissue, your metabolism gets a boost. What does this mean exactly, “get a boost?”
This means that the body burns extra calories. That’s one of the good side effects of strength training – and one you have probably heard of. That is the reason for the current craze in fitness, body-building, and the obsession for the perfect body.
Your body, however, wants to be efficient. It doesn’t really want to burn extra calories because, in the days gone by, it might have been difficult to find those “extra” calories.
So, if it’s not using muscle to full effect – in other words, if they are not being utilized or stressed on a regular basis to maintain function, then the body will get rid of what it views as metabolically “expensive” tissue.
So in this case, stress is not only desired but absolutely crucial to continue living a high quality of life.
Of course, the application of stress has to be measured.
Where people get into trouble, whether it is pursuing fitness goals, managing work/life balance, or even dealing with emotions, is when they take on too much stress, without having a means for downtime, rest, and recovery. We become engrossed with stress.
I account for this in my Ironclad Rules. Rule #7 is to: Keep a Relaxed-Focus. This is another way of saying the same thing.
The continued pursuit of success in life will be difficult to achieve in a negative or overly stressful environment.
A certain amount of calm and objectivity is needed.
However, you can’t allow yourself to be so calm that you blow things off or shirk responsibilities – hence, Keeping a relaxed focus.
So, while too much stress will ultimately shut down any system, too little stress will yield undesirable results as well.
Like most things in life, it is really about balance.
Stress is unavoidable. It is a significant part of our daily responsibilities and existence. Although there may be a few lucky individuals who claim they have a stress-free life, it may be because they have learned to navigate its complexities and have adapted effectively. A few have found the equilibrium in the midst of the chaos of daily existence.
We, as mammals of the highest cognitive faculties, possess that capacity to adapt. Though we deal with stress in many different ways based on our psyche and predilections for survival, there is hope. We are ultimately responsible for actions that will allow us to prevail. Just take that step.
As the song goes, “learning to love yourself, is the greatest gift of all,” carries a profound meaning that we ourselves often forget. Many among us tend to get inundated with the need to take care of others and take on responsibilities because we feel we have to. This often becomes a burden that sooner or later snowballs into something that is overwhelming. These stressors soon take away the joy out of life.
Find that balance. Take care of yourself. Find what works for you.
This simple book just provides an overview of the options. There are more out there by individuals who found that key to a productive life and an efficient way of navigating life’s complexities. Study and learn. Adapt.
Yes, stress can be perceived as unpleasant. Yet, most people find and discover their own strengths in times of adversity.
As Kelly Clarkson’s song goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Cliche, but its truth rings true. ~~~***~~~
Say Goodbye to Overuse Injuries
Overuse injuries from exercise, running or intense physical activity can cause overuse injuries.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind, but it can cause two kinds of injuries. You’ll notice major trauma like a sprained ankle or dislocated shoulder immediately, but other damage builds up over time.
Stiff legs or sore elbows could be overuse injuries that usually come from working out too often or too intensely. You may not see any visible signs, but your muscles and skeleton still need healing.
Try these tips that will help you stay active and speed up your recovery when you do suffer an injury.
Preventing Overuse Injuries:
- Schedule rest time. Your body grows stronger when you give it adequate time to heal in between workouts. Overuse injuries are a strong message that you need to take a break.
- Vary your workouts. Repetitive movements put more stress on your body because you keep using the same parts in the same ways. Try alternating exercises. If you’re a parent, keep in mind that children can be especially high risk if they over-specialize in one sport while their bodies are still developing.
- Change your equipment. Do your running shoes fit? Properly sized gear appropriate for your sport can help keep you safe.
- Consult a trainer. Precise alignment is another consideration. Study videos or work with a specialist who can teach you how to squat or pitch a softball correctly.
- Build up gradually. Avoid trying to do too much too soon. Adding 10% a week to your strength exercises, distance, or speed works for most adults.
- Warm up. Gentle movements prepare your body and mind for what’s ahead. Roll your shoulders and walk around for a few minutes before doing more challenging activities.
- Stretch your muscles. Complete your workouts by training for flexibility. Target your stiff spots and hold each stretch for a few minutes.
- Listen to your body. Structural issues or medical conditions can make overuse injuries more likely. Take extra care if you have flat feet or you tore your rotator cuff last winter when you were shoveling snow. Stop doing any activity that causes pain.
Treating Overuse Injuries:
- Take a break. Proper rest is essential for both prevention and treatment of injuries. It’s the first step in the standard RICE formula that you may have heard of. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Apply ice. Ice packs are most helpful when used early and often. During the first couple of days after an injury, they can dramatically reduce swelling and discomfort. To protect your skin, use a covered ice pack or wrap a bag of frozen peas in a towel.
- Wrap it up. Elastic bandages also cut down on swelling. Limit their use to no more than 2 days in order to restore the normal blood flow necessary for healing.
- Elevate the area. Try to keep your hurt arm or leg at or above the level of your heart. Prop them up on a pillow while you’re watching TV or working.
- Relieve pain. Anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen may help. They’re available over-the-counter or in stronger prescription form. Follow the directions on the label and talk with your doctor if your symptoms last for more than 10 days.
- See your physician. Your doctor can recommend prevention and treatment strategies appropriate for your individual body. Talk with your health care professionals if home remedies aren’t working or you have any concerns.
Most overuse injuries can be prevented if you know the signs and take action promptly. Stay fit and active by giving your body the rest it needs and using proper form when you work out.