Sunday, October 14, 2018

Yoga for Stroke Survivors

www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic is launching a new resource for Stroke Support Groups called The Booster Box. Included in the box is everything a leader needs to conduct a support group meeting for up to 24 attendees.

To receive your free Booster Box please call our office at 
309-688-5450 or email info@strokecamp.org to request yours. 

Subscriptions will be available for purchase and information will be inside your free box.  

Show Me The Booster Box
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The following is from an article written by Walt Kilcullen, a staff member of the Stroke Network's Newsletter which, unfortunately, has discontinued their monthly newsletters. This article was first posted in September 2011 and again in June 2014.
The StrokeNetwork itself still exists and is an excellent resource for stroke survivors and caregivers. you may join them at: http://www.strokenetwork.org/

If you have any questions about this article you may contact Walt at: at wkilcullenstrokenetwork.org
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Yoga for Stroke Survivors
By Walt Kilcullen



I started writing an article on fitness after a stroke and discovered there is a wealth of information out there giving great advice on keeping fit with exercise. I had almost completed the article when a member of my support group introduced me to adaptive yoga for people with disabilities. I began reading about this and realized that it would be better if I could see an adaptive yoga class in action. So last week, that is what I did.

The class was instructed by 
Della Moses Walker who was 
trained specifically to teach 
adaptive yoga at the Wellness
 and Enrichment Center in West
 Orange, New Jersey.

Many of the participants were
stroke survivors. The emphasis was on the individual. The pace for progress was slow so that each individual could advance at his own pace.


Della emphasized the following:
  • Yoga is a mind body connection.
  • Yoga with meditation yields relaxation of the mind and body.
  • Breathing in yoga is an important element for relaxation and concentration.
  • Adaptive yoga is designed to fit individual ability.
  • Yoga and meditation can be done independently, but it is far more beneficial if they are done together.

John McClain then led the class
to meditation. We all spent 
about fifteen minutes meditating
under John’s direction. He 
showed us how meditation
relieves tension, helps you to
find peace, creates relaxation,
and puts your mind in a natural
state.

Two common problems for stroke survivors are balance and 
weakness affecting an arm, a leg, or both. The yoga instructor 
circulated and gave instruction to each participant as needed. Some 
students were able to sit on the floor as a regular yoga class would 
begin. Others were able to lie on a mat. Some were able to stand 
holding on to the back of a chair, while others sat in chairs.

In yoga, there are many yoga poses (specific positions) that the
instructor uses. The goal is to improve balance, strength, 
flexibility, mobility, and to create an environment of relaxation
through breathing techniques. Following are examples of exercises
for chair yoga taken from Shirley Marotta,

Chair Yoga


Forward Bend – eases tension in the upper
back and neck. Breathe in and out as you
bend forward. Let your head and arms hang
over your knees. Relax into the position and
hold for a few seconds and keep breathing.
Breathe in as you slowly come back to a
seated position.

     Spiral Twist – increases circulation and
     flexibility in the spine. Sit facing forward 
     placing your left hand on the outside of your
     right knee. Place the opposite arm over the 
     back of the chair. Breathe in and breathe 
     out as you twist your body to the right.
     
    Turn your head as well. Push against your knee with your hand. Breathe normally and hold that position. Release slowly and come back to facing forward. Repeat on the opposite side if you are able.

Side Stretch – increases flexibility of the spinal
column, improves respiration, and reduces 
waistline.Sit facing forward with feet slightly 
apart, breathe in, and raise your arms out to both
sides.


Breathe out and bend to the left, reaching toward the floor with your left hand and your right hand pointing toward the ceiling. Breathe in and come back to the starting position. Repeat with the right side.


Knee Squeeze – relaxes lower back, improves digestion and respiration. Breathe out and breathe in and put both hands around the front of your knee. Pull your left knee to your chest while holding in your breath. Lower your head to your knee and hold for a few  seconds. Then release slowly while breathing out. Repeat on your right side.


Leg Lifts – strengthens legs and lower back, and
improves circulation to your legs and feet. Sit
and hold each side of the chair for balance.
Breathe out and breathe in as you lift
straightened left leg and flex your foot. Hold for
a few seconds and then slowly breathe out while
lowering your leg. Repeat with your right leg.


Sun Pose – improves circulation to your head,
massages internal organs, and limbers your 
spine and hips. Sit back in the chair with legs
apart and arms by your side.

Breathe out completely then breathe in and
with a sweeping motion bring your arms up
over your head. Look up and stretch. Breathe
out while bending forward between your legs
and if possible, put your palms on the floor.

Slowly breathe in while rising back up with
your arms over your head again, then lower your arms to the side.


Although the above chair exercises are beneficial, they are no
substitute for adaptive yoga classes because the instructor will
pattern your exercises to meet your individual abilities and needs.
You can find out where you can participate in adaptive yoga 
classes through the closest rehabilitation hospital. You may also see
if anyone in the local support group knows of such a program.

There are also two sources you may want to consider. The first is a
video called, Yoga: Renewal of Life (no longer available at this site), by the Rocky Mountain Stroke Center. Second is a book, Recovery Yoga: A Practical Guide For Chronically Ill, Injured, and Post Operative People by Sam Dworkis.

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Copyright @September 2011
The Stroke Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 492 Abingdon, Maryland 21009
All rights reserved.




Sunday, October 7, 2018

Dear Angela: An Open Letter to My Former Self

www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic is launching a new resource for Stroke Support Groups called The Booster Box. Included in the box is everything a leader needs to conduct a support group meeting for up to 24 attendees.

To receive your free Booster Box please call our office at 
309-688-5450 or email info@strokecamp.org to request yours. 

Subscriptions will be available for purchase and information will be inside your free box.  

Show Me The Booster Box
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I found this on the American Heart Association Support Network website: http://supportnetwork.heart.org I thought this was a rather clever and unique way of confronting a life changing experience. I'm passing it on to you and hoping that it will change the way you and I work through our own life changing problems. I also hope it impresses on you the importance of not ignoring any signs similar to what Angela experienced. Stroke is not a wait-and-see-if-this goes-away type of diagnosis.
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Dear Angela: An Open Letter to My Former Self by Angela Hager October 29, 2017 3:17pm EST



In recognition of World Stroke Day 2017, I decided to do something a little out of the ordinary: write an open letter to my former, pre-stroke self for all to read. My hope is that this piece will offer encouragement, inspiration and maybe even a little motivation to anyone either directly or indirectly affected by stroke.

Dear Angela,
My decision to write this letter wasn’t an easy one to make, but in time, you’ll come to understand that my need to write these things ultimately outweighed my hesitation. At 34 years old, life is comfortable. A routine has been established and the task of balancing work and family life has gotten easier. You’re a planner by nature and thrive on organization and predictability. So far, the storms you have encountered have been weathered pretty well; however, as you’ll soon discover, a darkness like you’ve never known looms just around the next bend.

Over the course of the next several months, you will begin to experience a series of “odd” moments, both physically and mentally speaking. These occurrences will pass rather quickly, giving you reason to chalk each of them up to just “one of those fluke things.” Unbeknownst to you, these seemingly trivial oversights will end up covering you in a thick, smothering cloak of regret…

The first oddity will be a sudden change in your eyesight; your vision will unexpectedly shatter into a million colorful pieces, almost as if you’re looking through a kaleidoscope. This effect will dissipate almost as quickly as it appeared, much to your relief. You’ll tell yourself that you just need to eat something and after a quick bite, all will be forgotten.

The next bizarre episode will be mental in nature. You’ll experience a brief bout with confusion at your place of employment. You’ll sit silently in a befuddled state, unsure of your assigned tasks. Again, this phenomenon will come and go within a matter of seconds. Once your brain regains its focus, you’ll shake it off, grab the next patient chart and simply carry on with your workday.

The third incident will appear to be more of an embarrassing mishap than anything else. A fast-paced walk down an office corridor will come to an abrupt halt with a sudden fall to the floor. You’ll pick yourself up with a bruised ego and place full blame on your newly acquired pair of heels. Little do you know that at this point, you are now barreling straight towards the eye of a storm so dark and so fierce that you’ll question whether or not the sun will ever shine for you again.

Just before your 35th birthday, your life will be irreparably split into two, very separate, very distinct chapters; pre-incident Angela and post-incident Angela. On a hectic morning in early June, you’ll be stopped in your tracks by a very strong ‘locked-in’ sensation. You’ll suddenly lose the ability to think straight or speak clearly. The left side of your body will lose its strength and simultaneously, you’ll feel a sense of numbness wash over your limbs. You will literally be frozen in terror. Once your mind loosens its grip on your body and you regain some control, you’ll notice a drool stain on your blouse. This will be the telltale sign for you: at 34 years of age, you just suffered a stroke.

The following days/months/years will be chock-full of every emotion imaginable. You’ll spend many days in bed, particularly in the beginning of your post-stroke journey, unable to function due to depression. You’ll often lash out in fear and anger and you will resent yourself deeply for not recognizing those earlier “flukes” as actual TIAs, or mini-strokes. Oh, the power of hindsight…

Although your stroke will be diagnosed as ‘mild,’ the lingering mental challenges will be devastating to you. You will be unable to return to your fast-paced work environment and the art of multi-tasking will become virtually impossible. Confusion, memory lapses and sensory overload issues will be at the forefront of your difficulties. Anxiety and insomnia will undoubtedly haunt you on a regular basis. The Angela that existed before your stroke will remain a distant memory, but take heart, sweet lady, I can assure you that all will not be lost nor in vain.

As difficult as it is to imagine, I promise that you will find happiness again. Learning to love the new you won’t be an easy journey, but with the unconditional love and constant support from your friends and family, you, we, eventually make it through to the other side. In the end, we will have gained a new perspective; a new appreciation for the simple things in life. Time is now more precious to us than ever and we grab hold of every opportunity to say, ‘I love you.’ No, all is definitely not lost. Our life may not be perfect, but I can genuinely tell you this truth: we’re now in a really, really good place; a place where the sun has never shone brighter.

Stay strong, from one Angela to the other.
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Copyright @September 2016
The Stroke Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 492 Abingdon, Maryland 21009
All rights reserved.      

Sunday, September 30, 2018

SURVIVOR STORY: STROKE. LIFE CHANGING. MY STORY.

www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic is launching a new resource for Stroke Support Groups called The Booster Box. Included in the box is everything a leader needs to conduct a support group meeting for up to 24 attendees.

To receive your free Booster Box please call our office at 
309-688-5450 or email info@strokecamp.org to request yours. 

Subscriptions will be available for purchase and information will be inside your free box.  

Show Me The Booster Box
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The following is from Karen Jarnat a Stroke Survivor who is allowing us to share her personal story.
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SURVIVOR STORY: 
STROKE. 
LIFE CHANGING. 
MY STORY. 
Karen Jarnat  |  Stroke Survivor 

January 4, 2015, a day that has forever changed MY life and the lives of my family. 

It started out to be a “normal” day. I had decided to work over time as my husband and I had panned to go to Arizona in three months to watch our beloved Chicago White Sox during Spring Training. I had been at work less than a ½ hour when I, a relatively healthy 41 year old woman, suffered a right side hemorrhagic stroke. I was taken to the closest hospital, stabilized, and then transferred to the Stroke Center at a leading hospital in the heart of Dallas, Texas.  After two weeks of testing and making sure I wasn’t in immediate danger for subsequent strokes, I began my in-patient rehabilitation. 

Since the initial shock of having the Stroke was gone and the psychological impact was beginning to set in, the Doctors told my husband to bring something from home that could bring me comfort. This item or items could be family photos or pajamas or even the pillow I use from our bed. Without any discussion, my husband brought me my favorite blanket – MY CHICAGO WHITE SOX blanket!!  This move left some staff members stunned. 

The stroke I suffered left me with significant left side physical deficits, it also left me with cognitive deficiencies and memory issues. Since I was getting physical therapy, my husband began talking to me about baseball. As an older couple that just found true love in each other, we had two thing we loved to do – traveling and watching sports!! My husband and I would spend time on my hospital bed talking about the rules of baseball and the CHICAGO WHITE SOX, our favorite team.  We didn’t make it to Spring Training that year. But because of all our hospital talks, I was ready to watch the upcoming season from home! YES, home. 29 days later I was going home.. I'm not saying it was easy. 

Albeit with my leg brace and cane, we still make it to a few games in person both in Dallas and Chicago. Sometimes we have to  just have to watch from home. 

I still have many bad days. Days that prohibit me from doing things physically and days I'm just down and days I have trouble with my memory. On those days, we circle back to stories and talks about the CHICAGO WHITE SOX.  

Through my recovery, I have lost a lot friends. Whether be because life changes or because of my limited ability to do things socially and some because they can’t cope with seeing me change. One thing's for sure. The CHICAGO WHITE SOX have NEVER, NEVER turned their back on me!! They will always be important to me, as our team. But for me, they were and are important in my recovery!! 

SOUTH SIDE!! 


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Want To See A Camp In Action?


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic is launching a new resource for Stroke Support Groups called The Booster Box. Included in the box is everything a leader needs to conduct a support group meeting for up to 24 attendees.

To receive your free Booster Box please call our office at 
309-688-5450 or email info@strokecamp.org to request yours. 

Subscriptions will be available for purchase and information will be inside your free box.  

Show Me The Booster Box
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This may look like a very short blog article but if you click on the link below you will get an eight minute slide show that I made of the Rockford, Illinois Stroke Camp the weekend of August 24-26. Eight minutes may sound like a long time but you will be so captivated by it you won't even notice it. If you've ever wondered what it is that we do at a camp, this is your chance to find out. This year our theme is Stroke Camp Island Getaway.
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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Do You Know How Many Camps We Do Each Year?


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic is launching a new resource for Stroke Support Groups called The Booster Box. Included in the box is everything a leader needs to conduct a support group meeting for up to 24 attendees.

To receive your free Booster Box please call our office at 
309-688-5450 or email info@strokecamp.org to request yours. 

Subscriptions will be available for purchase and information will be inside your free box.  

Show Me The Booster Box
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If you have been reading our blog posts here you probably know much of what we are all about. What you might not know is the extent of what we do. Listed below is this year's camps, their locations and the sponsors for the camp. You might also notice that we can have up to three camps on the same weekend, which are most likely in three different states. Each camp will have three or four experienced volunteers from the Peoria, Illinois who will travel to these locations to lead and manage the activities. As you can see, we may have as many as twelve volunteers staffing camps on any given weekend. We have been at this since 2004, starting out with one local camp and blossoming to the thirty, all over the country, you see listed here. It is, and has been, an amazing journey. We enjoy it, and we get to see the difference our camps make in a survivor's and caregiver's life. Check this list out and see if your city has one. If not, ask the Stroke Coordinator at your Hospital Stroke Center or the leader of your local Stroke Group to contact us...or you can even call us yourself - (309)688-5450 or email us at info@strokecamp.org.

Do you want to see what goes on at our camps? Next week I will post some photos to give you an idea.
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2018 CAMPS

5/4—5/6 Camp Courageous; Monticello, IA   |   Sponsored by: Mercy Medical Center and University of Iowa Hospitals   & Clinics

5/18—5/20 Chapel Rock Camp; Prescott, AZ   |   Sponsored by: Dignity Health

6/1—6/3 Purdue University; West Lafayette, IN   |   Sponsored by: Franciscan Health Foundation

6/8—6/10 Salt Fork Lodge & Resort; Lore City, OH   |   Sponsored by: OhioHealth

6/8—6/10 Fellowship Deaconry Ministries; Basking Ridge, NJ   |   Sponsored by: Overlook Foundation and Atlantic Health   Systems

6/15—6/17 Crestfield Conference Center; Slippery Rock, PA   |   Sponsored by: UPMC Rehabilitation and Stroke Institutes

6/22—6/24 Warren Conference Center; Ashland, MA   |   Sponsored by: Brigham & Women’s Hospital

7/5—7/8 Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center (Family Camp); Oregon, IL   |   Sponsored by: Retreat & Refresh Stroke   Camp

7/13—7/15 Elmhurst College; Elmhurst, IL   |   Sponsored by: Amita Health Neurosciences Institute

7/20—7/22 Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center; Oregon, IL   |   Sponsored by: Mercyhealth, Illinois      Neurological Institute, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Swedish American, VanMatre HealthSouth

7/30—8/1 Chapel Rock Camp; Prescott, AZ   |   Sponsored by: Power of the Purse, Dignity Health, HealthSouth East Valley   Rehabilitation Hospital

8/3—8/5 Pilgrim Park Camp; Princeton, IL   |   Sponsored by: Illinois Neurological Institute at OSF

8/10—8/12 Highlands Retreat Center; Allenspark, CO   |   Sponsored by: Cheyenne Regional Medical Center

8/10—8/12 Michindoh Conference Center; Hillsdale, MI   |   Sponsored by: St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center** 

8/24—8/26 Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center; Oregon, IL   |   Sponsored by: Mercyhealth, Illinois      Neurological Institute, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Swedish American, VanMatre HealthSouth

8/24—8/26 Faholo Conference Center; Grass Lake, MI   |   Sponsored by: Henry Ford Health System, DeMaria

8/24—8/26 Carol Joy Holling Center; Ashland, NE   |   Sponsored by: Lincoln Stroke Partnership, Bryan Health, Madonna   Rehabilitation Hospitals, St. Elizabeth

9/7—9/9 Lake Junaluska Conference Center; Lake Junaluska, NC   |   Sponsored by: Mission Health

9/7—9/9 Green Lake Conference Center; Green Lake, WI   |   Sponsored by: UW Health

9/7—9/9 Pilgrim Park Camp; Princeton, IL   |   Sponsored by: Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp

9/14—9/16 Airfield Conference Center; Wakefield, VA   |   Sponsored by: VCU Health

9/14—9/16 Broom Tree Retreat & Conference Center; Irene, SD   |   Sponsored by: Siouxland Stroke Support Network 

9/21—9/23 Waycross Camp & Conference Center; Morgantown, IN   |   Sponsored by: Franciscan Health –Indianapolis/  Mooresville

9/28—9/30 Cohutta Springs Conference Center; Crandall, GA   |   Sponsored by: Erlanger Health System, HealthSouth,   Siskin Hospital, Chiesi

10/5—10/7 Ceta Canyon Retreat Center; Happy, TX   |   Sponsored by: Medical Center Health System 

10/12—10/14 Rock Creek Resort; Red Lodge, MT   |   Sponsored by: St. Vincent Healthcare 10/12—

10/14 Echo Grove; Leonard, MI   |   Sponsored by: St. Joseph Mercy Oakland 

10/19—10/21 Rock Springs 4-H Center; Junction City, KS   |   Sponsored by: Kansas Family Stroke Foundation

10/19—10/21 Faholo Conference Center; Grass Lake, MI   |   Sponsored by: St. John’s Hospital & Medical Center

10/26—10/28 YMCA of the Rockies; Estes Park, CO   |   Sponsored by: Good Samaritan Medical Center

Sunday, September 9, 2018

What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?

www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic is launching a new resource for Stroke Support Groups called The Booster Box. Included in the box is everything a leader needs to conduct a support group meeting for up to 24 attendees.

To receive your free Booster Box please call our office at 
309-688-5450 or email info@strokecamp.org to request yours. 

Subscriptions will be available for purchase and information will be inside your free box.  

Show Me The Booster Box
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Since September is Atrial Fibrillation Month I have posted the below article from the American Heart Association. I believe this is appropriate for a stroke blog since AF can lead to a stroke. 
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What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?

Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib.

Here’s how patients have described their experience:
“My heart flip-flops, skips beats, and feels like it’s banging against my chest wall, especially if I’m carrying stuff up my stairs or bending down.”

“I was nauseated, light-headed, and weak. I had a really fast heartbeat and felt like I was gasping for air.”
“I had no symptoms at all. I discovered my AF at a regular check-up. I’m glad we found it early.”

What happens during AFib?


Normally, your heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly (quiver) instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventriclesIf a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results. About 15–20 percent of people who have strokes have this heart arrhythmia. This clot risk is why patients with this condition are put on blood thinners.

Even though untreated atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and is associated with a 5-fold increased risk for stroke, many patients are unaware that AFib is a serious condition.




According to the 2009 “Out of Sync” survey:
Only 33% of AF patients think atrial fibrillation is a serious condition
Less than half of AF patients believe they have an increased risk for stroke or heart-related hospitalizations or death.

AFib Treatment Saves Lives & Lowers Risks

If you or someone you love has atrial fibrillation, learn more about what AFib is, why treatment can save lives, and what you can do to reach your goals, lower your risks and live a healthy life.

If you think you may have atrial fibrillation, here are your most important steps:


    1. Know the symptoms
    2. Get the right treatment
    3. Reduce risks for stroke and heart failure

    We’re here to help you live your healthiest life!
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    Friday, August 31, 2018

    September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month

    www.strokecamp.org



    http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


    United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic is launching a new resource for Stroke Support Groups called The Booster Box. Included in the box is everything a leader needs to conduct a support group meeting for up to 24 attendees.

    To receive your free Booster Box please call our office at 
    309-688-5450 or email info@strokecamp.org to request yours. 

    Subscriptions will be available for purchase and information will be inside your free box.  

    Show Me The Booster Box
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    The following was contributed by
    Hanna Hughes
    Associate Marketing Communications Specialist

    Medtronic
    Cardiac Rhythm & Heart Failure
    8200 Coral Sea Street NE, MVS21 | Mounds View, MN 55112| USA
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    SEPTEMBER IS ATRIAL FIBRILLATION
    AWARENESS MONTH.

    Learn more about what could be at the heart of your stroke.

    Atrial fibrillation (also referred to as AF or AFib) is a major risk factor for stroke. (1) Atrial fibrillation is a common condition in which the upper chambers of the heart, or atria, fibrillate. This means that they beat very fast and irregularly, so the heart can’t pump blood effectively to the rest of the body.

    AFib increases the risk of stroke more than 5 times, (1) but often goes undetected since it can happen infrequently or without symptoms. When someone has AFib, the blood is not moving through the heart the way it should, and blood clots can form within the left atria. If a clot dislodges, it can travel to the brain and result in a stroke.

    September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. Take time this month to learn about Atrial Fibrillation and if you are at risk. If the cause of your stroke is unknown, it’s very important to determine if you have AFib. If AFib is found, your doctor may change your medications or suggest other treatments in order to reduce your risk of having another stroke.

    (1) Wolf PA, Abbott RD, Kannel WB. Atrial fibrillation as an independent risk factor for stroke: The Framingham Study. Stroke. August 1991;22(8):983-988.


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    I hope to get more information on Atrial Fibrillation to post throughout the month.

    Sunday, August 26, 2018

    Stroke deaths on the rise for some Americans


    www.strokecamp.org

    http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/

    Show Me The Booster Box

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    Stroke deaths on the rise for some Americans
    By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

    Since at least the 1960s, the rate of Americans who die from stroke has been on the decline. But that progress has slowed, and in some cases reversed, according to a new federal report.


    The report, issued Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the rate of stroke deaths among U.S. adults fell 38 percent between 2000 and 2015. But that pace has slowed or even reversed in 38 states in recent years. Florida saw the biggest reversal, with stroke death rates increasing nearly 11 percent each year from 2013 to 2015.

    African-Americans are most likely to die from stroke, but stroke death rates rose 5.8 percent each year among Hispanics from 2013 to 2015. Deaths from stroke also increased 4.2 percent each year in the South during that time.

    If declines in stroke mortality had maintained the same pace from 2013 to 2015, an estimated 32,593 stroke deaths may not have occurred, the report said.

    The findings are “a wake-up call,” said CDC director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., and underscore the importance of identifying and treating risk factors, geographic trends and other factors that may be slowing progress.

    “We know the majority of strokes are preventable and we must improve our efforts to reduce America’s stroke burden,” she said.

    The report did not identify the reasons for the slowdown, but other studies have pointed to increased numbers of Americans with stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.


    (Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


    Mitchell S.V. Elkind, M.D., a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University, said the report’s findings are worrisome and underscore the importance of efforts to identify and control risk factors across age groups.

    Elkind said maintaining a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and avoiding tobacco are important to building healthy habits that can have a big impact over a lifetime.

    “It’s never too early to start working on a healthier lifestyle and it’s never too late to change bad habits,” said Elkind, also chair of the American Stroke Association.

    About 800,000 Americans have a stroke each year, but 80 percent of strokes are preventable through lifestyle changes, according to the CDC.

    Elkind said increases in obesity and chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure among young people could lead to greater stroke risk as those patients get older.

    “This could be the tip of the iceberg because complications of heart disease and these chronic conditions haven’t caught up to them yet,” he said.

    Increasing access to health care is important to identify and treat risk factors early, Elkind said. “You can’t screen people and treat them if they can’t get in or afford to see a doctor.”

    The increase in stroke death rates among Hispanics and Southerners reveal the need for greater outreach and a closer look at what factors are driving the numbers in specific populations, he said.

    “We can’t treat everyone the same,” Elkind said. “We need to treat them with cultural awareness and sensitivity.”

    American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown called the report distressing but not unexpected given previous projections.

    “This report gives us even more reason to aggressively continue our efforts, especially in multicultural communities and to reach people at younger ages, as we are seeing more strokes in people in their 30s and 40s,” she said.

    The CDC pointed to efforts to reduce stroke risks and improve stroke care, such as the Million Heartsinitiative and the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program.

    Million Hearts is co-led by CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2022. The Coverdell program improves collaboration between hospitals, emergency medical services and outpatient providers, in addition to educating the community to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke, which include face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty.

    “Stroke is a real medical emergency,” said Robert Merritt, who works in the CDC’s Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. “Know the signs, and call 911 and get people to the hospital.”

    Sunday, August 19, 2018

    Do you know how to recognize a stroke?

    www.strokecamp.org

    http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/

    Show Me The Booster Box
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    Do you know how to recognize a stroke? 
    Do you know what you need to do when you recognize one? 

    Below are the guide lines. 
    Memorize them or print them out and keep in your purse or wallet because you never know when you might be the one to save a person's life, or even your own.  
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    80% of strokes could be avoided. 
    Every 4 minutes someone dies from a stroke.
    There are life saving methods to minimize the effects of stroke - IF YOU GET TREATMENT IN TIME.

    Up until now we have been urging you to remember the acronym F.A.S.T.

    Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

    Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

    Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

    Time: If you observe any of these signs call 9-1-1 immediately.

    This simple test is still valid, however, we have been finding out that, while people are getting better recognizing the F.A.S. part, there is a reluctance to take the T. part seriously. 

    Here is a better guideline we want to promote:
    BE-FASTER

    B - Balance: Sudden loss of balance.
    E - Eyes: Sudden blurry or loss of vision.

    F - Face: Sudden numbness, one side drooping - can they smile.
    A - Arms: Sudden weakness in arms - can you raise both?
    S - Speech: Slurred or mumbling speech.
    T - Time: Call 911 NOW
    E - Emergency
    R - Room: Get to the ER by ambulance, they know what to                       do FASTER

    Helping survivors at our stroke camps I found that some of them, sufferers themselves or their caregivers, have driven their own cars to the ER because it seemed faster than waiting for an ambulance to arrive. This is not a good idea because many things can happen on the way such as long stop lights, mechanical breakdown, accident, flat tire, or a traffic jam which could mean life or death or serious debilitation to the sufferer. 

    It is estimated that in each minute of a ischemic stroke, 1.9 million neurons, 14 billion synapses, and 12 km of myelinated fibers are destroyed. 

    You may think you can get there faster than waiting for an ambulance but the truth is the sufferer will be getting diagnosis and treatment on the way to the ER in the ambulance, and the ER will be getting the stroke team ready and waiting at the door, with a good diagnosis and proper tests in mind. Some ambulances in some cities are even able to administer the clot busting drug TPA on the way to the ER. My hope is that all cities will have this capability, and soon.

    Time is extremely important when 
    treating stroke. 
      

     

      

    Sunday, August 12, 2018

    Stroke Camp Tropical Island Getaway




    http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/

    www.strokecamp.org

    Show Me The Booster Box

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    We conduct weekend camps all over the U.S. We go border to border, ocean to ocean, for stroke survivors and their caregivers. Every year we have a different theme for dress-up, fun and team games. This year our theme is Tropical Island Getaway. Here are a few highlights of one of the camps I attended recently in Illinois. 
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    Tropical Island Face Paint

    Island Totem Building Contest
    Shark Toss



    Flamingo Catching

    Island Girls


    Sea Shell Hunt

    Island Dancing

    Island Songs

    Crazy Tourist

    Limbo

    Limbo Winner


    Island Drums


    Island Music Therapist

    Pirates

    Island Food

    More Crazy Tourists

    Island Hand Waxers
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    If you would like to attend one of our camps you may contact us through our website: www.strokecamp.org where you'll find more information and a phone number to call.
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