Sunday, October 27, 2019

Is it ischemic or hemorrhagic


Stroke Support Group Finder Link
The following is from the fall Stroke Connection Magazine

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.  


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:

Sudden loss of balance

Sudden blurry or loss of vision

Sudden numbness, one side drooping - can you smile?

Sudden weakness in arms - can you raise both?

Slurred or mumbling speech


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

Monday, October 21, 2019


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 to request yours. 

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

Show Me The Booster Box


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 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.


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

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 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.                                                                        * 

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 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!