Stroke, also known as a cerebral vascular accident (CVA), is the fifth leading case of death and a major cause of disability.
There are two types of stroke, hemorrhagic and ischemic. Hemorrhagic is caused by bleeding (a blood vessel rupture) within the brain. The more common, ischemic, makes up 87% of all strokes and is caused by a blockage to blood flow to or within the brain.
Stroke happens to one in twenty people averaging one every 40 seconds.
The major causes of stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. Strokes are nearly twice as high in blacks as in whites.
Treatment of ischemic strokes is with the use of “clot-busting” drugs which must be administered within 3 hours to be effective. The “T” in FAST should also be a reminder to note the time of symptom onset. This can be vital information for doctors. In some cases, a clot must be removed surgically.
Hemorrhagic strokes are treated by stopping the source of bleeding.
Rehabilitation is often necessary to treat residual disability from stroke.
Is the Face drooping?
Is there Arm weakness?
Is there difficulty with Speech?
If yes, to any of these questions it is Time to call 911
F A S T
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Stroke Association.
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Now that you have a puppy on your lap as you read your book and have regular checkups with your female doctor what else can you do to stay alive?
Next: Stay Out of the Hospital!
There was a time when the term “hospital clean” meant sterile and spotless. Today, unfortunately, the meaning could be the opposite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists nineteen nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections three of which are antibiotic resistant. These can be life-threatening infections and they are transmitted in various ways including, but not limited to, patient to patient. Viruses and bacteria can also be spread by health care workers, contamination of furniture and other articles and through the air.
Hazards other than infection can result from surgery, treatment, immobility, and falls. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tracks the rate of the following complications resulting from hospitalization: (notes are parentheses are mine)
- Pressure Ulcer (bed sore)
- Pneumothorax (lung collapse)
- Fracture (broken bones from falls)
- Hemorrhage or Hematoma (bleeding)
- Acute Kidney Injury Requiring Dialysis (kidney failure)
- Postoperative Respiratory Failure
- Perioperative Pulmonary Embolism or Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot during surgery)
- Postoperative Sepsis (serious, often life-threatening, infection of blood or other tissue)
- Postoperative Wound Dehiscence (incision opening following surgery)
- Unrecognized Abdominopelvic Accidental Puncture/Laceration (accident in surgery of the abdomen or pelvis)
What Can You Do?
There are times when hospitalization cannot be avoided. During those times one has little choice but given the option of outpatient care that is usually the best recourse. Understanding the risk of infection, in particular, should make one hesitant about visitation in hospitals. Situations vary and there are times when a hospitalized patient needs someone with them. If that is not the case protect yourself and them by waiting until they return home for visits.
“A hospital is no place to be sick.” Samuel Goldwyn
Writing this reminds me of many years ago when I was in the hospital for a couple of days. My then eleven year-old daughter gave me a book for a gift when I left home to have surgery. Although I no longer have that book, I clearly remember the title, “Staying Alive!” Thanks for the smiles, Allison!
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