Sunday, December 8, 2019

Benefits and Challenges of AAC


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic launched 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
*****************************************************************
*****************************************************************   
This is part 2 of a three part series. Next week will help you select the proper device for AAC.
*****************************************************************   
Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) for Aphasia

Communicating When, Where and What You Want

The high and low tech of augmentative and alternative communication for aphasia


Benefits and Challenges

A benefit of high-tech AAC is capacity. A physical notebook can only hold so many pictures, but a smartphone or tablet can hold thousands.

A hand holding a message: A physical notebook can only hold so many pictures, but a smartphone or tablet can hold thousands.

“There are several mobile applications that combine the use of photographs, writing, drawing and text to allow the individual with aphasia to use those to support their communication,” McKelvey said. “It can be programmed with a greeting for your daily coffee order. Sometimes, we use what we call a floor holder that introduces the individual using AAC and says, ‘I’m using this communication device to help because it’s difficult for me to get my words out, but I can understand what you’re saying.’ It really depends on the individual needs of the person.”
Some patients prefer the high-tech, and both experts surmised that this reflects the person’s comfort with technology before the stroke. “Our folks who are in their 80s, 90s and sometimes 70s just prefer to use low-tech strategies,” McKelvey said. “But this next generation may be different. They are used to using technology all the time and may want to use … this type of technology for communication as they’re so familiar with it.”
Dr. Miechelle McKelvey
Dr. Miechelle McKelvey
A little over a decade ago, someone carrying around a device all the time might have seemed odd. “With the proliferation of tablets, there is less stigma involved in somebody using or carrying around a tablet that they use for various purposes because lots of people do it,” Gutmann said. “Even dedicated devices these days maybe have sort of a tablet-looking- type device or a laptop type of device, so they may not be as different looking as they may have been in the past.”
High-tech allows for more complexity in communication. “In most high-tech systems, you can prepare and save messages and have them ready to go,” Gutmann said. “You could also communicate across space with something that has a voice output, so you could talk on the phone, whereas for the most part, low-tech options are very limited in that respect.”
Complexity can be a challenge with high-tech AAC — ease of navigation, ease of organization and customization are important. If survivors can’t make it their own, it will never be part of them. “It has to be organized and personalized for the individual who has aphasia. It really has to make sense for the user,” McKelvey said. “It can be a challenge to figure out how it is going to be most facilitative. A lot of trials and feedback about ease of use are necessary. When we design something for a patient, they have to take it out and use it. Then we come back together and talk about what worked and what didn’t. How can we make this better?”
Gutmann emphasized that programming is time intensive. “It can be fabulously successful, but it can also fall flat on its face if you don’t have buy-in from the person with aphasia and their most important conversation partners,” she said. “Also, there are so many considerations for systems. You have to consider if the person can navigate it. Can they use a smartphone? People who were tech users before they had aphasia may be more inclined to embrace this as part of their AAC. People who weren’t users of tech before they had aphasia may find themselves less inclined to embrace this as part of their intervention.”
High-tech AAC requires a battery or an electrical outlet. And, as amazing as it is, technology always has the potential not to work. “I never have an individual communicate using just one method because I don’t communicate using just one method, so I don’t expect my patients to,” McKelvey said. “There has to be a low-tech way for them to communicate when their high technology isn’t available to them for whatever reason — it doesn’t get plugged in, it doesn’t work that day, they left it in the car, whatever.”
If something does go wrong with a mobile tablet, what then? “Who’s going to be this person’s tech support?” Gutmann asked. “Is it going to be their spouse, their child, their best friend, their grandchild? A dedicated speech-generating device is going to come with tech support from the manufacturer. But when you buy a commercially available tablet and an app, who’s responsible for that? If something goes wrong, do you take it back to the place where you got the tablet? Maybe it’s not a tablet issue; maybe it’s a problem in the app. Maybe it needs updating. Maybe there’s a problem with the device. It’s harder to disentangle those things.”
Neither low-tech nor high-tech AAC is better than the other. But it’s not hard to imagine that using tech that actually speaks for you can make a different impression. “You might be perceived as smarter, more able, more capable,” Gutmann said. But not all people will relate to an artificial voice coming from a device. And there are situations that may require low-tech AAC. “What happens when the power goes out, or you need to communicate in the shower or bath? If you need help with those type of tasks, you can’t be taking a tablet or a dedicated device into the bath or the shower.”

Thought bubble with message: Sometimes the choice between low and high tech boils down to simplicity.

Sometimes it boils down to simplicity. “Honestly, a lot of my patients just prefer the low-tech because they can write or draw or use the word list, and it’s just easier for them to communicate using those methods,” McKelvey said. “It really depends on how efficiently they can locate what they want to say when they need to say it. Personalizing the organization and vocabulary within the AAC system can lead to successful communication.”

Costs

“Cost can be a barrier for some individuals — if you’re looking at a particularly sophisticated speech-generating device, up to $7,000,” said McKelvey. “Speech-generating devices are considered essential durable medical equipment by Medicare and Medicaid, but there has to be an evaluation from a speech therapist.” Getting Medicare or Medicaid to cover the cost requires paperwork and the process for approval can take some time. McKelvey tells us that there are programs and organizations that may offer equipment on loan. This gives individuals with aphasia a chance to try out the technology first. “If we’re talking about an app on a phone, those can be anywhere from $5 to $250 plus the cost of the device,” she said.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Augmentative/Alternative Comm (AAC) for Aphasia


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic launched 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
*****************************************************************
*****************************************************************
This week starts a series of a article I found at strokeconnection.org. I have broken down the article into three sections because it is lenghty. This week it will describe what AAC is. Next week will cover the Benefits and Challenges of AAC, followed by Selecting a Device the third week.
*****************************************************************
Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) for Aphasia

Communicating When, Where and What You Want

The high and low tech of augmentative and alternative communication for aphasia










After stroke, community is important for recovery, and communication is key. “I have learned from my patients that the most important thing for them is communication,” said Miechelle McKelvey, Ph.D., CCC/SLP and professor and department chair in the communication disorders department at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. “I’ve had so many spouses of stroke survivors tell me: ‘I used to think the worst thing would be if he or she couldn’t walk. But I never really thought about them not being able to communicate.’ It’s how we connect with our loved ones and our community, even our pets. It’s how we connect with the world.”
Speech language pathologists (SLPs) are all for anything that supports survivors’ ability to connect with their world and those in it. “My goal is that a person should be able to communicate in any environment they step into, about any topic they choose, and with any communication partner,” McKelvey said.
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) methods help make that happen. According to the American Speech Language and Hearing Association:
AAC includes all of the ways we share our ideas and feelings without talking. We all use forms of AAC every day. You use AAC when you use facial expressions or gestures instead of talking. You use AAC when you write a note and pass it to a friend or co-worker. We may not realize how often we communicate without talking.

People with severe speech or language problems may need AAC to help them communicate. Some may use it all of the time. Others may say some words but use AAC for longer sentences or with people they don’t know well. AAC can help in school, at work and when talking with friends and family.

Types of AAC

AAC methods generally fall into two categories — high tech and low tech.

Notepad stating: Low-tech AAC can be as simple as a notepad.
Low-tech AAC can be as simple as a notepad.
Tablet stating: Hightech AAC encompasses electronic and computerized devices.
Hightech AAC encompasses electronic and computerized devices.

Low-tech AAC can be as simple as a notepad. One of McKelvey’s colleagues developed a small pocket calendar that, instead of dates, has word lists, sentences, phrases, topics or even pictures that a person could need to communicate. “Other types of low-tech or no-tech communication would be as simple as gestures or facial expressions,” McKelvey said. “Anything that a person would use to either support what they are communicating or that a communication partner would use to support someone with aphasia’s ability to understand what’s being communicated to them.”
“Low-tech AAC can include anything from actual pictures or photographs to a communication board,” said Michelle Gutmann, Ph.D., CCC-SLP and clinical professor in Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences at Purdue University. “You can either develop them and customize them, or there are some prefabricated ones on the market, from an emoticon [images that indicate emotions] rating scale, to something called a boogie board that is like a magic slate that can be written on but easily erased. Low-tech pretty much encompasses anything that is non-electronic.”
High-tech AAC encompasses electronic and computerized devices. “I think we have more options now because of two things that happened in terms of the research and the technology,” Gutmann said. “Starting in 2006, researchers started talking about ‘Visual Scene Displays.’ Visual Scene Displays are highly contextualized, personally meaningful and relevant pictures on a communication device that are used to help people with aphasia communicate. Then, there was the proliferation of mobile tablets that readily support the use of pictures and the many apps that support communication.”
Different mobile apps support communication in different ways. “Some applications have sentences and phrases that speak when the person presses a button,” McKelvey said. Some apps are as simple as a whiteboard surface that can be drawn or written on with a finger or stylus or an onscreen or peripheral keyboard can be helpful.
In addition to mobile apps, high-tech AAC also includes dedicated speech-generating devices. The sole purpose of these devices is to support communication, whereas a tablet supporting AAC apps also runs apps for other purposes.
Tobii Dynavox is an example of such a device. “A dedicated speech device would have presets and access to vocabulary,” McKelvey said. “Then it has to be personalized for the individual’s needs. Some apps can be customized but the features of the apps need to meet the needs of the user. The individuals with aphasia must be able to navigate through the app and locate what they want to say efficiently during the conversation. This can be a challenge for individuals with aphasia. It is important to have an AAC evaluation with an SLP to ensure this match between the needs and abilities of the person with aphasia and the features of the AAC system be it low-tech or high-tech.”
Both experts were clear that dedicated speech-generating devices are not necessarily better or worse than low-tech communication displays, notebooks and photographs. All can be useful for people with aphasia. “And every high-tech device needs a low-tech backup, something to use when the high-tech can’t be used,” Gutmann said. “Some people prefer low-tech because it requires whomever they’re talking with to be face-to-face with them, engaged with them right there and really involved in the communication. On the other hand, a high-tech system could allow somebody to prepare a message in advance. For example, going to a family reunion prepared to ask people how they’re doing and updating them about themselves.”

Next week will cover the Benefits and Challenges of AAC.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Goodness of God Verses the Tragedies of Life”



www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/



*****************************************************************

*****************************************************************
This week's blog is submitted by Phil Bell, retired pastor, University Baptist Church. He is a stroke survivor, and occasionally writes an article for the local newspaper. He permits us to post them, also.
*****************************************************************
Street & Steeple for September 13, 2019 

“The Goodness of God Verses the Tragedies of Life”
By Phil Bell, retired pastor, University Baptist Church

Between Hurricane Dorian and mass murderers a lot of people are dealing with tragedy in their lives! Most of us probably believe in a God who is good. That may well be the first thing we were ever taught about God. That’s easy to affirm when things are going our way, like when a healthy child is born to us or when we receive a raise at work or win the Lottery! 

What about, however, when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer or we are treated unfairly or a loved one is killed! How easy, then, is it to declare, ‘God is good?!’ He still is, of course, even when our circumstances don’t seem to confirm it.

My wife, Nancy, and I find ourselves among the world of caregivers and stroke survivors. Stroke is never a good thing and has three different causes. God may, for a reason He probably won’t share with us, cause a stroke to happen. If He does, we are told in scripture, it is for our own good, as hard as that is to understand, or Satan may cause it with God’s allowance. More often a stroke is the result of Adam’s original sin and its penalty, which was that our bodies deteriorate!

In our world, God’s goodness is easy to affirm when I make significant progress toward recovery or Nancy gets an unexpected time to enjoy herself, getting a respite from my 24 /7 need for her care. Not so easy to affirm God’s goodness are times I end up on the floor or Nancy’s back hurts from transferring me or when my physical therapist asks me to do something which I simply can’t do! Just because God is good it does not follow that everything that happens is good of course, as I wrote, a stroke is never a good thing to us.

Also true is that God is unchanging, always good, the church word for that attribute being immutable. Some Christians greet one another by saying, “God is good” and receive the reply, “All the time.” God enables his children to get through every tragic period, even, often turning a bad situation to good! The best example of that we find in the life of Joseph in the Old Testament. Sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph sees them again when they come to him to buy grain due to a world-wide famine. When they recognize him and know he has recognized them, they fear reprisals for what they did to him.

In Genesis 50:20 we find he says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” He does that often, as I relate in the book I’m writing, “Finding Purpose in Pain.” Our world is filled with people suffering their own particular tragedies from Hurricane Dorian and the senseless violence which seems to have overtaken our country!

Should you be suffering your own particular tragedy, I urge you to remember that God is good no matter what your circumstances might tell you! Look for what he may be wanting to teach you by your predicament or what purpose(s) it might be achieving! Those things will help you reconcile the goodness of God with life’s tragedies!

Phil Bell, retired pastor, University Baptist Church

Sunday, November 17, 2019

HELPFUL TIPS


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/



*****************************************************************

Stroke Support Group Finder Link
*****************************************************************
The following is from the fall Stroke Connection Magazine
http://strokeconnection.strokeassociation.org

HELPFUL TIPS FROM REED AND MARY HARRIS

When Reed Harris had a stroke at the age of 50, it left him almost completely unable to communicate verbally or understand what others were saying. He also had partial paralysis on his right side, profound apraxia, and anomia, the inability to recall or say the correct words. Reed also had some auditory processing issues, causing difficulty with how his brain processed what he heard. Reed and his wife, Mary, worked together on Reed’s stroke recovery and they share some of the most helpful things they’ve learned along the way:

Patience is a virtue 

The Harrises emphasize that it’s important to be PATIENT with all of the ATTEMPTS (successful or not). And remember, lack of speech does not mean there is a lack of hearing. 

Act with patience 

• Demonstrate: Show how to perform the task. 
• Break all actions into smaller steps. 
• Clarify the next step. 
• Repetition - Approach the 20th time as if it were the first. 

Communicate with patience
• SLOW it down. 
• E-NUN-CI-ATE. 
• Come close/make eye contact/touch. 
• Do NOT finish sentences unless asked to. 
• When questioning: MULTIPLE CHOICE is better than YES/ NO.
• BE specific. Allow time to respond.


Long-haul tips 

For couples new to stroke recovery and aphasia, Mary says, “Reed and I resoundingly respond together with the words, ‘Never give up!’” Through their own experience and that of so many people they have come to know, it’s critical to:
• Be creative and customize the plan for recovery. Everyone is
  different. Remember that even a conversation with a pharmacist
  can be a source of motivation and speech therapy!
• Be persistent in the endeavor to recover. 
• Celebrate the tiny steps of progress. 
• Life is the best therapy, so live it!


PATIENT PERSPECTIVE CONTINUED 

“THE EXPERIENCE OF 
STROKE AND RECOVERY 
HAS ENRICHED US AS 
INDIVIDUALS AND AS 
A COUPLE”

Lastly, Mary shares that the day of Reed’s stroke, “…changed the entire course and purpose of our lives. But we go on. We have learned to adapt. While our lives are forever changed, we feel that the experience of stroke and recovery has enriched us as individuals and as a couple. The stroke was our mulligan, our second chance. Our lives are enriched and fulfilled, and we have a greater sense of purpose.”

REED AND MARY HARRIS 
Excerpted and adapted from “Caring for a Survivor with Aphasia,” Stroke Connection® Fall 2016. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At United Stroke Alliance we urge you to Be-Faster!
If you have detected the following stroke symptoms, don't wait.  

BE-FASTER!

Don't wait, be Be-Faster to save someone's life. Awareness is critical! What if you could help save your life or someone else’s by knowing the signs of stroke? Once a stroke begins to present itself, BE-FASTER and dial 911 immediately - the more time that is wasted, the more functioning you could lose as a result – up to 1,900,000 brain cells a minute or worse - death. Act FAST when stroke strikes. Be aware of the signs of a stroke and how to act:

BALANCE
Sudden loss of balance

EYES
Sudden blurry or loss of vision

FACE
Sudden numbness, one side drooping - can you smile?

ARMS
Sudden weakness in arms - can you raise both?

SPEECH
Slurred or mumbling speech


TIME
CALL 911 NOW
EMERGENCY
ROOM

Get to the ER by ambulance they know what to do FASTER!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

COMMUNICATION AND COGNITIVE CHANGES


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/



*****************************************************************

Stroke Support Group Finder Link
*****************************************************************
The following is from the fall Stroke Connection Magazine
http://strokeconnection.strokeassociation.org

COMMON COMMUNICATION AND COGNITIVE CHANGES AFTER STROKE

The brain controls your ability to use language. Speaking, listening and understanding are complex processes. Each involves different parts of the brain. The location of the stroke injury controls the type of communication problem.

Aphasia 


Aphasia is a common communication problem after a stroke. There are three types: expressive, receptive and global. 

• People with expressive (non-fluent) aphasia know what they want to say but have trouble saying it. They can’t find the right words or have trouble “getting the words out.” Or, they may use the wrong words or leave out words without knowing it. 

• People with receptive (fluent) aphasia have trouble understanding words other people speak. They may not understand the order of the words or the relationship between the words. 

• People with global aphasia may be unable to speak, name objects, repeat phrases or follow commands. They also have a hard time understanding what others are saying.

Dysarthria 

Dysarthria affects control of the muscles in the face, tongue and mouth. People with dysarthria may know exactly what they want to say. But they may speak slowly. Their speech may sound slurred, muffled, hoarse or nasal.

Apraxia 

Apraxia of speech affects the ability to speak. People with apraxia have trouble connecting speech messages from their brain to their mouth. Apraxia of speech may affect more than the power to speak. It often affects reading and writing as well.

Aphasia, dysarthria and apraxia do not cause a loss of intellect. Even though it’s difficult for a survivor to speak, it’s not because of a lack of intelligence.
---------

MEMORY AND COGNITIVE CHALLENGES 

Different parts of the brain control specific types of thinking. Depending on where stroke happens in the brain, problems with certain types of thought may occur. Stroke survivors can have trouble with memory. Planning, organizing ideas or making decisions can also be hard after stroke.

How stroke affects memory 

Many stroke survivors face memory challenges. But not all memory problems are the same. A stroke survivor may: 

Remember for only a short span of time. For instance, they might remember only two or three steps in a set of instructions. Or, the person might forget whether they have taken their medications or eaten a meal. 

Have trouble absorbing new information. The survivor may need to have things repeated over and over. 

Have problems transferring learning from one setting to another. For example, in the hospital the survivor might be able to safely transfer from a wheelchair to a bed alone. But at home, the change in setting may make the person unable to do the same task. 

Mix up the details of an event. A stroke survivor might confuse when things happened or who was there. For example, he or she might think a family member visited in the morning instead of the evening before.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At United Stroke Alliance we urge you to Be-Faster!
If you have detected the following stroke symptoms, don't wait.  

BE-FASTER!

Don't wait, be Be-Faster to save someone's life. Awareness is critical! What if you could help save your life or someone else’s by knowing the signs of stroke? Once a stroke begins to present itself, BE-FASTER and dial 911 immediately - the more time that is wasted, the more functioning you could lose as a result – up to 1,900,000 brain cells a minute or worse - death. Act FAST when stroke strikes. Be aware of the signs of a stroke and how to act:

BALANCE
Sudden loss of balance

EYES
Sudden blurry or loss of vision

FACE
Sudden numbness, one side drooping - can you smile?

ARMS
Sudden weakness in arms - can you raise both?

SPEECH
Slurred or mumbling speech

TIME
CALL 911 NOW
EMERGENCY
ROOM

Get to the ER by ambulance they know what to do FASTER!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Stroke's Common Physical Changes


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/



*****************************************************************

Stroke Support Group Finder Link
*****************************************************************
The following is from the fall Stroke Connection Magazine
http://strokeconnection.strokeassociation.org

COMMON PHYSICAL CHANGES AFTER A STROKE

Physical changes that follow a stroke are the result of injury to the brain and may include one or more effects.

Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body

If the stroke occurs on the brain’s right side, the left side of the body and face will be affected. It’s the opposite for a stroke that occurs on the left side of the brain.

Fatigue

After a stroke, it’s common to feel tired at some point. This is known as fatigue. Fatigue often starts to lessen a few months after the stroke. But for some people, tiredness may continue for years. If you’re experiencing poststroke fatigue, talk to your health care team about ways to reduce it.

Spasticity

When you try to move a limb, the muscles contract (shorten or flex). This creates stiffness and tightness, which is referred to as “spasticity.” Spasticity also causes the tendons and soft tissue around the muscle to become tight or stiff. This makes stretching the muscle much more difficult. If not treated, the muscle can freeze into an abnormal and often painful position. If you have spasticity, talk to your doctor about the best treatments for you. Physical therapy and medications can help.

Seizures

Seizures are brain malfunctions that alter a person’s awareness. A seizure may last only a few seconds or minutes. It may trigger involuntary body movements, strange sensations or blackouts. Studies vary greatly about how often seizures happen after stroke. Seizures are painless. But they can be upsetting and disorienting. Often, seizures can be treated with medications. If you think you may have had a seizure, let your health care team know.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At United Stroke Alliance we urge you to Be-Faster!
If you have detected the following stroke symptoms, don't wait.  

BE-FASTER!

Don't wait, be Be-Faster to save someone's life. Awareness is critical! What if you could help save your life or someone else’s by knowing the signs of stroke? Once a stroke begins to present itself, BE-FASTER and dial 911 immediately - the more time that is wasted, the more functioning you could lose as a result – up to 1,900,000 brain cells a minute or worse - death. Act FAST when stroke strikes. Be aware of the signs of a stroke and how to act:

BALANCE
Sudden loss of balance

EYES
Sudden blurry or loss of vision

FACE
Sudden numbness, one side drooping - can you smile?

ARMS
Sudden weakness in arms - can you raise both?

SPEECH
Slurred or mumbling speech


TIME
CALL 911 NOW
EMERGENCY
ROOM

Get to the ER by ambulance they know what to do FASTER!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Is it ischemic or hemorrhagic


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/



*****************************************************************

Stroke Support Group Finder Link
*****************************************************************
The following is from the fall Stroke Connection Magazine
http://strokeconnection.strokeassociation.org

Early treatment of ischemic stroke 

Ischemic stroke happens when a blood clot blocks a vessel supplying blood to the brain. It’s the most common type, accounting for 87% of all strokes. The treatment goal is to dissolve or remove the clot. To dissolve a clot, a medicine called alteplase (tPA) is given through an IV (intravenous line). It works by dissolving the clot so blood can flow again. Alteplase can save lives and reduce the long-term effects of stroke. It needs to be given within three hours of the start of stroke symptoms (up to 4.5 hours for some eligible patients). To remove a clot involves a procedure called mechanical thrombectomy. Doctors use a wire-cage device called a stent retriever to remove a large blood clot. They thread a catheter through an artery in the groin up to the blocked artery in the brain. The stent opens and grabs the clot, allowing doctors to remove the stent with the trapped clot. Special suction tubes may also be used to remove the clot. This procedure must be done within up to six to 24 hours of stroke symptom onset and after the patient has received alteplase, if eligible. Patients must meet certain criteria to be eligible for this procedure.

 Early treatment of hemorrhagic stroke 

Hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel bursts (ruptures) and bleeds within or around the brain. Blood vessels can become weak due to a ballooning of part of the vessel (aneurysm). Other times there may be a tangle of blood vessels within the brain that didn’t form normally, making them weak (arteriovenous malformation or AVM). When high blood pressure isn’t controlled, it puts strain on weakened blood vessels that can lead to the ruptures that cause stroke. The treatment goal is to stop the bleeding. For some patients, a small tube (catheter) with a camera is threaded through a major artery in an arm or leg and guided to the area of the bleed in the brain. The camera gives the surgeon a detailed view of the area to help fix the problem. Once the catheter is guided to the source of the bleeding, it leaves a mechanism, such as a coil, to prevent further rupture. This type of procedure is less invasive than standard surgical treatment. Sometimes surgery is required to secure a blood vessel at the base of the aneurysm.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
At United Stroke Alliance we urge you to Be-Faster!
If you have detected the following stroke symptoms, don't wait.  


BE-FASTER!

Don't wait, be Be-Faster to save someone's life. Awareness is critical! What if you could help save your life or someone else’s by knowing the signs of stroke? Once a stroke begins to present itself, BE-FASTER and dial 911 immediately - the more time that is wasted, the more functioning you could lose as a result – up to 1,900,000 brain cells a minute or worse - death. Act FAST when stroke strikes. Be aware of the signs of a stroke and how to act:

BALANCE
Sudden loss of balance

EYES
Sudden blurry or loss of vision

FACE
Sudden numbness, one side drooping - can you smile?

ARMS
Sudden weakness in arms - can you raise both?

SPEECH
Slurred or mumbling speech

TIME
CALL 911 NOW
EMERGENCY
ROOM

Get to the ER by ambulance they know what to do FASTER!

Monday, October 21, 2019

EMOTIONAL AND PERSONALITY CHANGES

 
www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic launched 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
*****************************************************************
*****************************************************************  

COMMON EMOTIONAL AND PERSONALITY CHANGES AFTER STROKE

strokeassociation.org/strokeconnection  

After a stroke, people often experience emotional and behavioral changes. This is because the brain controls our behavior and emotions. A stroke may make a person forgetful, careless, annoyed or confused. Stroke survivors may also feel anxiety, anger or depression. Their behavior depends on which part of the brain is affected and how extensive the injury is.

Depression 

Depression is common after stroke, affecting about one-third to two-thirds of all survivors. The symptoms can be mild or severe, often starting in the early stages of stroke recovery. Stroke survivors should be assessed for depression and treated when it occurs. It’s important to identify and treat post-stroke depression (PSD) as soon as possible. Untreated, it can lead to being in the hospital longer and can limit a survivor’s functional recovery.

The symptoms of PSD may vary and change over time, but patients and families should watch for: 

• Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood 
• Depressed mood; loss of interest/pleasure 
• Sleeping problems 
• Decreased motivation 
• Responding with little or no emotion 
• Feelings of hopelessness • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness (feeling like a burden) 
• Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down” 
• Difficulty focusing, remembering, making decisions 
• Appetite changes 
• Thoughts of death or suicide 

When five or more of the above symptoms last for two or more weeks, a survivor may be having PSD.

Anxiety 

Changes related to stroke can lead to worry and anxiety. Getting around may be harder. There may be financial strains. Other sources of anxiety after stroke may be fear of falling because of balance problems or being anxious about speaking because of aphasia. Counseling can be helpful for anxiety. Sometimes anxiety and depression are both in play. If you’re anxious, talk with your health care team about potential treatments. 

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) 

When parts of the brain that control emotions are injured, PBA (also called emotional lability or reflex crying) occurs. Most often, people cry easily. Some may laugh uncontrollably or have sudden mood swings. These are physical effects of the stroke. Telling the person not to cry won’t help. Instead, ask them how they want to be treated during an episode. Many people prefer that it be treated as a reflex, such as hiccups, and that conversation continue. Lability often lessens over time. If PBA is a problem for you, ask your health care provider about available treatments.
***************************************************************** 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Wisdom Better Than Knowledge


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic launched 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
*****************************************************************
*****************************************************************
This week's blog is submitted by Phil Bell, retired pastor, University Baptist Church. He is a stroke survivor, and occasionally writes an article for the local newspaper. He permits us to post them, also.
*****************************************************************
Street & Steeple August 9, 2019
 
“Wisdom Better Than Knowledge
By Phil Bell, retired pastor, University Baptist Church

__________________________________
August is the month when our schools will be opening including Macomb Public, St. Paul’s, and WIU! Students will be returning, either by choice or by force. Their quest for knowledge will once again resume after a summer of fun and / or work! That doesn’t mean knowledge wasn’t gained in the summer, but then it was more accidental than purposeful as in a classroom! 


The problem with knowledge, is that once possessed, it doesn’t mean it will be wisely put to use! My homespun definition of wisdom is “the proper application of knowledge.” One internet dictionary defines it as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment,” and “the quality of being wise.” 

For me, the best example of the difference between knowledge and wisdom is one I heard made by Dr. David Jeremiah, being “Knowledge is knowing tomatoes are a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put them in a fruit salad!” That, for me, describes them perfectly! I’m not depreciating the value of knowledge, quite the contrary. I am saying it’s not enough alone! Alexander Pope recognized the danger in it in his poem, “An Essay on Criticism,” writing, “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring; there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.” Put in modern lingo it probably would be, “Go big or go home!” 

I agree with him. If one is going to acquire knowledge, don’t cut it short. Get all you can! I’d go further, “Knowledge without wisdom is like having a really great looking car without gasoline, it may impress people, but won’t get you too far! 

Having only one functioning hand and arm, occupational therapy was very important for me. There, I learned how to put on and take off a shirt by myself. I might have stumbled on to learning how to do it on my own, who knows, but that’s what occupational therapy is for, to cut down on the stumbling! Yes, I have the knowledge to do it, and do, but when my wife says, “let me help you with that,” I have the wisdom not to say, “That’s alright, I can do it myself!” 

The Bible has a great deal to say about wisdom. First, let’s begin with King David. He links wisdom with being righteous and justice. We read in Psalm 37:30, “the mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. I think it’s no coincidence wisdom is shown by speaking. Too often one shows his or her ignorance by something he or she says, which reminds me of a modern proverb, “Better to remain silent and have people wonder if you’re a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!” 

Staying in the Psalms, David describes wisdom as coming from God. In Psalm 51: 6 is found, “Behold, you desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part /you make me know wisdom.” Still in Psalms 90:12 we read, “So teach us to number our days so we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Clearly the psalmist is saying a wise person knows life is not eternal here on earth and lives accordingly! 

The New Testament also speaks of wisdom. In 1 Corinthians 1:20 we read, “Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since Paul is saying there is a difference between the world’s wisdom and the wisdom of God. In the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” 

Paul is saying there is a difference between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world! By his wisdom we are saved, but by only earthly wisdom we cannot even know God! My point is not to depreciate knowledge, but rather to say it should not be where our education ends. True wisdom acknowledges God and trumps mere knowledge! 

For example, our knowledge changes over time. Once, in history, everyone knew for sure that the earth was flat. Some time later it was common knowledge that the sun revolved around the earth! I wonder what things we know for sure, today, will be foolishness a hundred years from now! Who knows, maybe by then, Pluto will be a planet again! 

Wisdom is not relying on the knowledge and wisdom the world gives us if they disagree with God’s Word. Remember, though we need both, wisdom is better than knowledge!

Phil Bell, retired pastor, University Baptist Church

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?

*****************************************************************
* I've been a bit late on posts lately because of                                        *
* circumstances. I will try to get back on                                                   *
* schedule by posting a new article every                                                 *
*  Sunday night after 10pm.                                                                        * 
*****************************************************************

http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/
www.strokecamp.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
*****************************************************************
*****************************************************************
September was Atrial Fibrillation Month. I posted this a year ago and I think it is worth posting again. This article is originally from the American Heart Association. I believe this is appropriate for a stroke blog since AF can lead to a stroke. 

I've been a bit late on posts lately because of circumstances. I will try to get back on schedule by posting a new article every Sunday night after 10pm. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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!
    *************************************************************************************