by Lovena Suson | Apr 12, 2021 | Health & Fitness, Senior Health
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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by Lovena Suson | Apr 8, 2021 | Pain Management
Do You Struggle with Stiff Joints? 13 Ways to Find Relief
Young and old, joint stiffness seems to plague us all. No matter how intense or sedentary our activities may be, we all experience it at some point.
Do your hips and knees feel stiff when you wake up in the morning? Do you struggle to stand up after watching a long movie? There are several reasons why prolonged inactivity may cause such symptoms.
One of the most common reason is arthritis. You may have osteoarthritis, which affects many older adults as the result of the joints experiencing years of ordinary wear and tear. If you’re younger, you may have rheumatoid arthritis or related conditions involving your immune system.
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Duration can be a simple way to distinguish between the two. Stiffness related to osteoarthritis typically eases up in about 15 minutes or less while symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to last much longer.
Whatever the cause, morning stiffness can usually be eliminated or reduced. Try these strategies for finding relief.
Medical Treatment for Morning Stiffness:
- See your doctor. Your doctor will perform blood tests and examine your joints to make a diagnosis. They will also ask you about your medical history because genetics and injuries could increase your risk for arthritis.
- Consult a specialist. You may be referred to a rheumatologist. They are specialists in autoimmune conditions who can help you to develop a treatment plan.
- Take medication. There are many over-the-counter and prescription drugs to help relieve arthritis pain. Depending on your diagnosis, anti-rheumatic drugs may also be an option.
- Get referred to physical therapy. Learning to move safely without damaging your joints can make you more comfortable and independent. A physical therapist will provide exercises to help you with daily activities.
Some approaches that a physical therapist may use include therapeutic exercises, manual therapeutics that can include joint mobilization to regain joint motion, soft tissue mobilization to release muscle tightness that can hinder movement, or relieve muscle spasms. A physical therapist also has an arsenal of modalities for pain relief. This can be ultrasound, electrotherapeutic point stimulation, low-level laser or phototherapy, Kinesiotaping (or KT Taping), and much more. Consult with a therapist. You can always get a referral from your primary physician, rheumatologist, neurologist, or internist. Nowadays you can also get a referral from a Nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. Check with your insurance.
Home Remedies for Morning Stiffness:
- Lose weight. Excess pounds strain your joints, as well as your heart. Lighten up with healthy eating and regular exercise.
- Build strength. While it’s impossible to replace the cartilage you lose with age, you can increase your muscle mass. Lift weights or do floor exercises that use your body weight for resistance. Strong muscles give your joints extra support.
- Increase flexibility. Safe stretching fights stiffness too by loosening tendons that naturally tighten when you sleep or sit still. Practice yoga or do leg and arm stretches while you watch TV.
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- Change your diet. There’s little evidence to support claims about expensive supplements and miracle foods that cure arthritis. On the other hand, a diet low in processed foods and rich in nutrients limits inflammation. Eat more fatty fish, nuts, green vegetables, and cherries.
- Sleep well. Adequate rest is essential for healing. Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule. Darken your bedroom and block out background noise with a fan or white noise machine.
- Manage stress. Chronic tension can aggravate arthritis and any mental or physical condition. Relax with gentle music, meditation, or a warm bath.
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- Apply heat. For pain relief without drugs, apply a warm compress to your sore hips or shoulders. Long-standing injuries usually respond more successfully to heat while ice is recommended for the first couple of days after a new event.
- Keep moving. Prevention is a sound strategy. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!”. When possible, take frequent breaks when you know you’ll be stuck in one place for a while. Shift your sleep position during the night and walk around while you’re on the phone.
Taking care of your joints will help you to sleep more restfully at night and move more comfortably in the morning and throughout the day. Maintain a healthy weight, avoid fatigue, and talk with your doctor if you need more assistance.
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