I can remember the specific time when he was most likely having those strokes...well, actually, I remember one night when he was moaning and groaning, tossing and turning, talking in his sleep…but honestly, I cannot remember if this was before he had nose bleeds, and started taking medication for high blood pressure; or if it was after that time…I really just remember this incident happening.
So, why didn't we seek medical help when I heard all of his restlessness and moaning and groaning, etc.? The thing is, "STROKE" is a word that was so far from my mind that I just didn't think about it...or I just didn't think?!
But, looking back – I have been doing a lot of looking back these past 20 days!! I now see that the medical issues most likely started at that point; or maybe it was the climax after the nose bleeds, etc. In any case, I want to be sure that anyone reading this blog is armed with the tools to be able to recognize the symptoms.
This information is by no means complete; and should NOT take the place of seeking professional help if you suspect anyone has these symptoms. In fact, the campaign states it clearly:
STROKE STRIKES FAST.
YOU SHOULD TOO.
The National Institutes of Health through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has developed this campaign to educate the public about the symptoms of stroke – and how important it is to seek immediate medical attention. This campaign is called:
KNOW THE SIGNS. ACT IN TIME.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the country and causes more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease. More than 795,000 strokes occur each year in the United States. Nearly three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65 and the risk of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after the age of 55. Recurrent stroke is frequent; about 25 percent of people who recover from their first stroke will have another stroke within 5 years.
But, what IS stroke? According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (click here for their website), “A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells. Brain cells die when they no longer receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood or there is sudden bleeding into or around the brain. There are two forms of stroke: ischemic - blockage of a blood vessel supplying the brain, and hemorrhagic - bleeding into or around the brain.”
One of the key messages of the Know Stroke: Know the Signs. Act in Time” campaign is to make sure everyone knows the symptoms of stroke:
- Sudden NUMBNESS or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden CONFUSION, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden TROUBLE SEEING in one or both eyes
- Sudden TROUBLE WALKING, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden SEVERE HEADACHE with no known cause
What about treatment? “…there are three treatment stages for stroke: prevention, therapy immediately after the stroke, and post-stroke rehabilitation. Therapies to prevent a first or recurrent stroke are based on treating an individual’s underlying risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes. Acute stroke therapies try to stop a stroke while it is happening by quickly dissolving the blood clot causing an ischemic stroke or by stopping the bleeding of a hemorrhagic stroke. Post-stroke rehabilitation helps individuals overcome disabilities that result from stroke damage. Medication or drug therapy is the most common treatment for stroke. The most popular classes of drugs used to prevent or treat stroke are antithrombotics (antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants) and thrombolytics.”
What is the prognosis? “Although stroke is a disease of the brain, it can affect the entire body. A common disability that results from stroke is complete paralysis on one side of the body, called hemiplegia. A related disability that is not as debilitating as paralysis in one-sided weakness or hemiparesis.”
Stroke may cause problems with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment, and memory. Stroke survivors often have problems understanding or forming speech. A stroke can lead to emotional problems. Stroke patients may have difficulty controlling their emotions or may express inappropriate emotions. Many stroke patients experience depression. Stroke survivors may also have numbness or strange sensations. The pain is often worse in the hands and feet, and is made worse by movement and temperature changes, especially cold temperatures.
Well, I know today's post has been really lengthy - and some more technical stuff! I can promise the next few days will be less technical; but I cannot promise them to be fun or interesting...but they are some things that I need to share in order to continue my journey with Dementia's Demands. I hope you will continue to join me on this journey with Dementia's Demands.
Learn more about Stroke and the campaign Know Stroke: Know the signs. Act in Time at http://stroke.nih.gov/ and http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/stroke.htm.