Sunday, February 10, 2019

Why More People Don't Call 911 When Stroke Symptoms Hit




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
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I believe this message is so important that I will leave it active until February 24th to make sure everyone has a chance to see it. It reflects our new acronym of :
B.E. F.A.S.T.E.R.
B.  Balance - sudden loss of balance
E.  Eyes       - sudden blurry or 
                       loss of vision
F.  Face       - sudden numbness, 
                      one side drooping
                       can you smile
A.  Arms      - sudden weakness in arms
                       can you raise both arms
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!
Almost two million brain cells die every minute.
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Why more people don't call 911 when stroke symptoms hit

By American Heart Association News
Person on headset
(PhotoAlto/James Hardy, Getty Images)
When stroke symptoms hit, not everyone calls 911 – a decision that has perplexed experts. Now, a small study reveals some of the reasons.

The research, being presented next week at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in Honolulu, included interviews with 38 stroke patients who drove themselves or had someone drive them to Baptist Health South Florida Hospitals rather than calling 911.

Lead researcher Maygret Ramirez said the most common reason, listed by nearly one-third of participants, was hospital preference and not knowing where an ambulance would take them. Other reasons patients provided were not realizing it was an emergency, having a family member who preferred to drive, or thinking they would get to the hospital faster if they drove rather than waiting for an ambulance.

"The fact that hospital preference is the number one reason for not calling 911 tells us we need to provide better education on this issue," said Ramirez, a nurse practitioner at Baptist Health Neuroscience Center in Miami. "People really need to understand that stroke can be a catastrophic event if not treated in time."

Patient concerns are not misguided. Guidelines recommend emergency medical teams take stroke patients to the nearest hospital that can deliver the clot-busting medicine alteplase. Ramirez said EMS teams are typically taught to refuse a patient's request to go to a different hospital.

Still, she said, that shouldn't dissuade people from calling 911. If a patient wants to go to a different hospital, "they could ask to be transferred (there) after the first assessment."

Fast action is essential in treating stroke, with early treatment leading to higher survival rates and lower disability rates. Yet previous studies have found more than one in three people who have a stroke don't call 911 and instead rely on self-transport to get to the hospital.

"We have to reinforce the idea that this is an emergency. We need more people to understand that when it comes to stroke, 'time is brain,'" Ramirez said, repeating a phrase coined in the 1990s to amplify the message that the longer you wait to treat a stroke, the higher your chance of brain damage.

Ramirez said she'd now like to see research that looks at the specific types of educational messages that will get people to call 911 during a stroke.

A stroke happens when blood vessels carrying oxygen to the brain are blocked or rupture, causing brain cells to die. In the U.S., stroke is the fifth most common cause of death. An estimated 140,000 people in the U.S. die of stroke each year. It's also a leading cause of disability.

Calling 911 for stroke is essential because it not only gets patients to the hospital faster but ensures patients are taken to a hospital that specializes in stroke treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Kevin Sheth, an associate professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine who was not involved in the new study, said he was surprised by the results.

"I'd have thought the main reason for not calling 911 would have more to do with misinterpretation of symptoms, not hospital preference," he said. "And that raises some questions: What do we do about this? Do we need to provide more options for patients? Do we need to educate patients?"

Sheth said he's curious about whether socioeconomic and other factors such as race impacted whether people called for an ambulance. The findings are also limited by the small number of participants who were all treated at one hospital network in South Florida.

"The question of 'Why don't we get patients to the hospital faster?' is the biggest challenge in acute stroke research, but it's a problem we have not made much of a dent on yet," Sheth said. "Ultimately, we need to get more people to call 911 and get to definitive (stroke) therapy faster."

If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org.
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American Heart Association News Stories
American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association.

Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to the American Heart Association News. See full terms of use.

HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or call for emergency medical help immediately.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Taking medicine for a cold?




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
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Since we are deep into the flu and cold season, 

the following article will be of interest to stroke survivors 

as well as those with heart conditions.
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(duckycards, Getty Images)
By American Heart Association News

Taking medicine for a cold? 

Be mindful of your heart.

Flu has so far infected more than 6 million Americans this season, and winter colds are making their rounds. If you've been hit by either, you may be thinking about heading to your local pharmacy to relieve your aches, pains and congestion.

But before you do, you need to consider how some over-the-counter cold medicines may impact your heart.


"People with uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid taking oral decongestants," said Sondra DePalma, a physician assistant at the PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute at UPMC Pinnacle in Pennsylvania. "And for the general population or someone with low cardiovascular risk, they should use them with the guidance of a health care provider."

DePalma co-authored guidelines released in 2017 by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology focusing on the management of high blood pressure in adults. Both decongestants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), found in many cold medicines, were listed as medications that could increase blood pressure.

Decongestants – like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine – constrict blood vessels. They allow less fluid into your sinuses, "which dries you up," said Dr. Erin Michos, associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease in Baltimore.

"But if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, the last thing you need is constricting blood vessels," she said. "It can exacerbate or worsen the condition."

The biggest concerns are for people who have had a heart attack or stroke, or have heart failure or uncontrolled high blood pressure, Michos said.

But research on NSAIDs suggests seemingly healthy people might also be at risk.

A 2017 study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases looked at nearly 10,000 people with respiratory infections who were hospitalized for heart attacks. Participants were 72 years old on average at the time of their heart attacks and many had cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Researchers found that people who used NSAIDs while sick were more than three times as likely to have a heart attack within a week compared with the same time period about a year earlier when participants were neither sick nor taking an NSAID.

This may be due to the compound effect.

Merely having a cold or the flu strains the cardiovascular system. Fighting the illness raises the heart rate and causes inflammation. Meanwhile, NSAIDs – which carry a warning label about the increased risk for a heart attack or stroke – can cause problems by reducing the amount of sodium excreted through the urine, which increases fluid retention and raises blood pressure, DePalma said.

NSAIDs can be especially risky for people with heart disease or heart failure, Michos added. People who are sick should use both classes of medications – decongestants and NSAIDs – judiciously and understand the potential side effects.

For decongestants, blood pressure guidelines suggest using them for the shortest duration possible or using an alternative such as nasal saline or antihistamines to help with congestion. Decongestants shouldn't be taken longer than seven days before consulting with a health care provider, DePalma said.

NSAIDs taken as pills should be avoided when possible to avoid affecting blood pressure, guidelines advise. Rather, topical NSAIDs and acetaminophen are recommended alternatives.

"There are effective therapies that are less risky and definitely should be tried first," DePalma said. "If other over-the-counter medications are needed, use them cautiously. And if someone finds they are having problems like high blood pressure or other things like heart palpitations, they should talk with their health care provider."

If symptoms are mild or moderate, rest and drink plenty of fluids, Michos said. Preventing dehydration should help reduce body aches, clear mucous and may reduce the need for decongestants.

To help avoid getting sick in the first place, Michos recommends frequent hand-washing and lots of sleep, especially during cold and flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, and the pneumonia vaccine for children under 2 and adults 65 and older.

If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org.
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American Heart Association News Stories

American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association.

Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to the American Heart Association News. See full terms of use.

HEALTH CARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. If you are in the United States and experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or call for emergency medical help immediately.