Why Do Second Strokes Happen?

By | All about Stroke, Life after Stroke, Stroke Prevention | No Comments

One stroke is a difficult occurrence to face, but many stroke survivors find that they end up having secondary strokes. Often, these strokes are more severe and can take more functioning away. Fortunately, you can prevent a secondary stroke by following the orders that your doctor has given you. If you ignore healthy suggestions, then the possibility of a secondary stroke is very high. Usually, it is unhealthy living that leads to a stroke in the first place, and by learning how to take care of yourself better, you can prevent further damage. If you’ve had an ischemic stroke, or a stroke caused by a clot, you are more likely to have a secondary stroke. Those who have had hemorrhagic strokes are not as at risk because a bleed in the brain is not likely to happen again. However, ignoring your blood pressure can lead to small bleeds in the brain that can lead to secondary strokes. You should be concerned about secondary strokes because they are so common. Take the time to talk to your doctor about the rate of secondary strokes and what actions you can take to prevent them.   Failure to Control Blood Pressure and Cholesterol…

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Visual Impairments Following a Stroke

By | All about Stroke, Life after Stroke | No Comments

Stroke causes a variety of symptoms, and most people know the main signs, such as paralysis, difficulty talking, and drooping face. One area you may not realize that also suffers from a stroke is vision. It makes sense, though: your eyes are just another set of nerves that are managed by the brain. If the part of the brain that makes sense of the impulse is injured by a stroke, then vision will be impacted. Sometimes, it is hard to tell that a stroke patient has a visual impairment because the symptoms are subtle. Very rarely does vision loss present as complete blindness, and visual impacts are not seen with all strokes. Most visual disturbances are in the broad categories of some visual loss and problems with visual perception. Although complete blindness is rare, partial blindness is one of the hallmark visual complications after a stroke. If you or your loved one had a stroke and are concerned over visual side effects, speak to your neurologist. They will be able to test visual fields to ensure that the eye and their corresponding nerves are working properly.   How a Stroke Affects Your Vision Stroke can affect your vision in many…

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How to Manage Your Coumadin

By | Stroke Prevention | No Comments

Coumadin is the brand name of this drug, but it is also known by its generic name, warfarin. If you are on either of these medications, then the rules of Coumadin apply to you. Sometimes, it can be difficult to get your Coumadin to the right level, but it is important to pay very close attention to your usage of this medication to prevent another clot. Of all of your medications post-stroke, this one is probably the most important and the one that needs the most follow up.   Taking Your Coumadin You need to take your Coumadin every day, preferably at the same time. It is best to take the Coumadin in the morning because it will affect your blood tests by the next morning. This allows your doctors to get a good idea of how the medication is working when the medication is taken at the same time every day. You also need to be sure of the amount you are supposed to be taking. Some schedules call for different doses on different days. Some dosages are half pills, as well, so it helps to set out your Coumadin for the week in a pill reminder. It does not…

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Utensil Adaptations for Independent Eating

By | Life after Stroke | No Comments

Most stroke survivors strive for independence regardless of their limitations after their incident. Being independent is a great way to combat depression, feel good about yourself, and take some of the pressure off your caregiver. Even if you can only do a few things by yourself, it is important to do those things and to try to do as many other skills as possible. Eating by yourself is often considered an essential exercise for most stroke survivors. Besides bathroom skills, eating by yourself is usually at the top of the list. However, eating with one arm paralyzed or facial droop can make the act challenging. You may be surprised to know that several medical supply companies have developed specialized tools to help stroke survivors gain this piece of independence. Your best source of information for modifications in this area is your occupational therapist. They can help you develop the skills to perform the activities of daily living, such as eating. As a result, they are a wealth of information for the stroke survivor and caregiver. If your therapist has not already suggested the following modifications, it may be beneficial to mention them, emphasizing your desire for independent eating.   Tabletops…

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FAST: Signs of an Oncoming Stroke

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Whether you’ve had a stroke or worry about one coming on, you should know the signs of a possible stroke in progress. You can memorize a list of symptoms, but researchers have come up with an easier way to remember the most important signs of a stroke. They created the acronym FAST, which stands for face, arm, speech, and time. Remembering these four criteria will help you to know if a stroke is in progress. Even if you’ve had one stroke, it is important to know this acronym so that you can judge if a second stroke is affecting you. Secondary strokes are an important and dangerous consideration for stroke patients.   Face Facial symmetry can tell you a good deal about a person’s well-being. If you’ve had a stroke, you may already have some drooping or facial asymmetry. In an initial stroke, this is a primary sign that the person is having a stroke. You should ask the patient to smile and check if it is even. Have them stick out their tongue and determine if it stays straight or curves to the side. You may also want to survey the face to see if one eye is drooping…

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Cooking after a Stroke

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Independence after a stroke is important to most patients who have had the condition. Even if you struggle to walk or to partake of the activities of daily living, you still want to be able to do for yourself. One way you can assert your independence is by cooking meals for yourself and others. Of course, this will depend greatly on you level of deficit, but even those who are severely impacted by stroke can find ways to make their own meals. People can certainly do this simple chore for you, but it helps your confidence to be able to be self-sufficient in at least one part of your life.   Safety Safety is one of the most problematic blockages to cooking for yourself. Dealing with fire and the possibilities of burning yourself are real problems and should be addressed. If you have paralysis to any of your limbs, you can very easily burn yourself and not even be aware of it. For this reason, you have to keep track of your paralyzed limb. You should check it frequently during your cooking project to ensure that there are no red spots or blisters. Even taking something from the microwave can…

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Parenting after a Stroke

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Although stroke is often thought of as an older person’s disease, it can happen to people who are quite young. Whether it is from heart problems or a lifestyle that leads to stroke, many young people find themselves facing the consequences of this all too common problem. Even young mothers and fathers with small children can have a stroke, and this can make parenting challenging. However, it is not beyond your capacity to raise your kids and still deal with the consequences of your stroke. Whether you’ve had a mild stroke or something more severe, you can still be a part of your children’s life.   Explaining Limitations to Children Kids are remarkably adaptable to situations, and they may become better adjusted to your limitations than you are. Your kids love you, and they want to accept that their parents just the way they are. Some limitations may frighten kids, such as facial droop, and this may take some time for them to get used to. You need to explain that it doesn’t change who you are or the love you have for your children. In time, most kids can accept anything when they see Mommy or Daddy doing their…

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Stroke Riskometer: A Helpful App for Assessing Risk

By | Apps for Stroke Patients | No Comments

Mobile devices are everywhere these days, and many enterprising entrepreneurs have come up with apps that range from games to lifesaving information packets. Stroke is no exception, and one of the best apps on the market to assess your risk is the app Stroke Riskometer. Not only does this app help you determine if you are at risk for a stroke, but it also has valuable information on common medical problems related to stroke and how to recognize a stroke as it is happening. In addition, the app is free, so it really is a no risk proposition to use this program.   Download and Setup Installing this app is very easy. You simply go to the app store from your mobile device and plug the name into the search bar. You can use this app on both your iPad and your iPhone, in addition to other devices. When you get to the Stroke Riskometer screen, you can see the specs for the app and the basic information about what the app does. It is 38 MB, so you may want to download it while you are on a WiFi connection instead of 3G to save on data transfer rates….

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Atrial Fibrillation: What Stroke Survivors Need to Know

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Atrial Fibrillation, or afib, is a common cause of strokes, and you may not even realize you have it. It is a disorder of the heart that causes the upper chambers to quiver like jelly. When they quiver, they cannot pump blood as effectively, and this can lead to clots. When the lower chambers of the heart, the ventricles, fibrillate, the person goes into cardiac arrest. The upper chambers, or atria, are not as crucial, but when they do not pump properly, heart problems and stroke can follow. You may have been told that afib is the cause of your stroke, so it is important to know as much about it as possible.   The Connection between Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke You may wonder how a problem in your heart can lead to a clot in your brain, and you would be right in doing so. When the atria are unable to pump, the blood pools in the chamber, never getting fully ejected. As you may know, whenever blood stands still, it starts to form clots, and these can build up in the atria without your knowledge. At some point, the clot is ejected from the chamber. Either it stops…

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A Beginner’s Guide to Dysphagia

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One of the most common side effects from stroke is dysphagia, but it may be difficult to understand if you’ve never heard the term before. Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing. To swallow, your muscles and throat must complete a complex set of maneuvers to protect your windpipe and allow the food or liquid to make it into the esophagus and stomach. When you have a stroke, some of the nerves that control this function no longer work, and this means that your windpipe has no protection from incoming foreign objects. Dysphagia can affect stroke victims with varying severity, but it is important to always follow swallowing precautions when you have this condition.   Testing and Screening Before leaving the hospital, most stroke survivors will be tested for swallowing difficulties. In fact, they may be NPO, or nothing by mouth, until the test has been performed, and this can be frustrating for stroke patients. If they were to eat or drink something, however, the food could go into the lungs and cause a severe case of pneumonia. In addition, choking and coughing can block off the airway, leading to respiratory arrest. There are many risks involved in eating or drinking outside of…

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