Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one. Consider following these tips to achieve ideal health.
Don't Let Stroke Strike Twice
(Family Features) Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one.
While there are about 7.2 million stroke survivors in the United States, people who have had a stroke are at high risk of having another one. In fact, about one in every four stroke survivors will have a second one.
Efforts like Together to End Stroke, an American Stroke Association initiative, nationally sponsored by Bayer Aspirin, work to educate stroke survivors and caregivers about how they can avoid a second occurrence.
Because the consequences of a second stroke can be more detrimental than the first, it’s important to recognize the signs, which come on suddenly, and act quickly. An easy way to remember the most common warning signs is the acronym F.A.S.T., (F – face drooping, A – arm weakness, S – speech difficulty, T – time to call 911).
Talk to your doctor about medications that may help you with your stroke prevention efforts. For example, taking aspirin regularly or other blood clot prevention medications can help reduce the risk of another ischemic stroke.
Consider following the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s “Life's Simple 7” to achieve ideal health:
Don't smoke. Smoking puts you at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Quitting is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and add years to your life. You’re more likely to quit for good if you prepare for your last cigarette and the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting.
Eat a healthy diet. Healthy eating starts with simple, healthy food choices. You don’t need to stop eating your favorite meals, just use substitutions to make them healthier. Learn what to look for at the grocery store, restaurants, your workplace and other eating occasions so you can confidently make healthy, delicious choices whenever and wherever you eat.
Maintain a healthy weight. The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight go beyond improved energy and smaller clothing sizes. By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you can also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. There’s no trick to losing weight and keeping it off, but the majority of successful people modify their eating habits and increase physical activity.
Control cholesterol. Having large amounts of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, in the blood can cause build up and blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Reducing your fat intake, especially trans fats, often found in fried foods and baked goods, can help reduce your cholesterol. Adding more foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts, as well as soluble fiber and whey protein, helps in managing cholesterol.
Manage blood pressure. Nothing causes more strokes than uncontrolled high blood pressure. Of the 116.4 million people in the United States who have high blood pressure, fewer than half have it under control, putting them at increased risk of stroke. Lowering your blood pressure by 20 points could cut your risk of dying from stroke by half.
Control blood sugar. By managing your diabetes and working with your health care team, you may reduce your risk of stroke. Every two minutes, an adult with diabetes in the United States is hospitalized for stroke. At age 60, someone with type 2 diabetes and a history of stroke may have a life expectancy that is 12 years shorter than someone without both conditions.
For more information on how to prevent stroke, and a complete list of warning signs, visit strokeassociation.org/americanstrokemonth.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Stroke Association
(BPT) - A new survey reveals Americans are not aware of what to report prior to a blood test. Only half (52 percent) believe it is very important to report use of supplements to their healthcare provider before getting a blood test.
With recent interest in the use of supplements like biotin as beauty treatments, it’s especially critical for consumers, doctors and lab personnel to talk before blood tests because very high doses of supplements could interfere with some test results.
The possibility of interference in blood testing is low, but if you’re taking high-dose biotin for hair, skin or nail health, for example, it is best to inform your doctor before a blood test. Just as you may need to fast before certain types of tests, you may need to hold off on taking supplements like biotin for at least eight hours before blood work.
The survey, commissioned by Roche Diagnostics, also found that most Americans (85 percent) expect their physician to provide complete instructions on how to prepare for a blood test.
“Many factors — from stress, to prescription medication, to vitamins — can affect blood test results, so it’s important to be proactive in communicating about medicines or supplements you’re taking rather than waiting to be asked,” said Dr. Emily Jungheim, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Ask your healthcare provider about ways to prepare for blood tests. Here are some simple tips to follow:
* Write down all your prescription medicines the night before a blood test so you can share up-to-date information with the lab technician or your doctor.
* Also report vitamins, supplements, nutraceuticals and any over-the-counter medications.
* Know the doses of the medicines and supplements you are taking. The dose matters. You may not be aware that 5 mg of biotin per day, for example, is equal to the amount of biotin in 100 capsules of a typical daily multivitamin.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. In fact, approximately 36,000 blood donations are needed each day nationwide. However, during the summer months, it is typically more difficult for blood donations to keep pace with demand, and this can result in summer shortages. To help bridge the gap and encourage lifesaving donations, World Blood Donor Day serves as a reminder to give blood and platelets during this crucial time.
A will to give
Nexcare Brand is partnering with the American Red Cross to raise awareness regarding the importance of blood and platelet donation during the summer months through the ninth annual Nexcare Give program. This year’s theme is “Roll Up a Sleeve and Give Where You Live,” celebrating all those who give in their communities around the world. Limited-edition Nexcare Give bandages will be available for free to presenting donors at participating Red Cross donor sites and blood drives around the country, through June 14, World Blood Donor Day. Nexcare Give Bandages will also be available as a bonus in select Nexcare Waterproof Bandage packs at retailers nationwide, as well as by mail, while supplies last, at Nexcaregive.com.
The program comes at a time when new research from Nexcare Brand shows:
* More than one-third (36 percent) of U.S. adults have never given blood;
* More than one-quarter (28 percent) do not know their blood type;
* Despite the life-changing impact, awareness is low. More than one-quarter (28 percent) say the reason they have never given blood before is because they have never even thought about it.
To bring to light the power of blood donation, the Nexcare Give program is raising awareness worldwide about how you can get involved.
“Blood donation is a cause that’s not only important in our country and around the world, but also in the lives of people, everywhere,” says supermodel and Nexcare Give spokesperson Niki Taylor. “Every year, millions of Americans need blood, and people have the power to make a difference in about an hour that it takes to give. Now is a great opportunity to make a big impact, starting with your local community.”
One blood donation goes a long way
A single donation can help save the lives of more than one person. Patients can need blood for a number of reasons, including surgeries, treatment for various accidents, cancer and other illnesses.
Blood donations are an ongoing need year-round. If you’ve never given blood before, now is the perfect time to start. You can visit Nexcaregive.com to find your local blood center and visit their website to determine whether you can be a donor. Donors of all blood types are needed to give this summer. Type O negative donors are especially needed, because they have the universal blood type that can help anyone who needs blood. O negative is often used during emergencies when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type.
Once you’ve determined whether you are eligible to donate, the next step is to contact your nearest blood center to book an appointment. You may also be able to donate at a convenient location such as your school, your workplace, a neighborhood community center or your place of worship, if a blood drive is hosted there — be on the lookout for drives in your community. If you aren’t eligible to donate blood, you can still participate by pledging your support on the Nexcaregive.com website.
You can even host a virtual blood drive through the American Red Cross SleevesUp program, which is an online tool that allows supporters to create a virtual blood drive and encourage colleagues, friends and family members to give blood or platelets in four easy steps. Visit redcrossblood.org/sleevesup to create your own campaign, or visit Niki Taylor’s page and pledge to give at rcblood.org/Niki.
To learn more about the Nexcare Give program, find blood donation centers in your area and pledge your support for blood donation to make a positive impact today, visit Nexcaregive.com.
(BPT) - Val Bias' entire life changed when he heard the loud noise come from the bathroom. The year was 1988, but Bias remembers the moment like it was yesterday. He ran to the bathroom and found the door blocked. He pushed and finally forced the door open. Inside he found Katie, his wife, lying on the floor. She had suffered a seizure, so Bias picked her up and took her to the hospital.
That day, Katie was diagnosed with a tumor. She was given six months to live.
As tragic as this turn of events was for the couple, it was only the beginning. When doctors rushed to remove the tumor, Katie’s immune system flattened out. That’s when they learned the tumor was only one of the medical challenges she faced. Katie also had HIV, a disease she had gotten from her husband.
A life with hemophilia
For his entire life, Bias has lived with hemophilia. At the time of his birth, every male member of his family with hemophilia had already died. He remembers being in fourth grade and finding the hemophilia section in his new text book. As he read the text, he learned that the average life expectancy for someone with hemophilia was 20 years. At age 10, Bias realized he had already lived half of his life.
More than three million Americans have a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia, von Willebrand disease or rare factor deficiencies. These diseases prevent the blood from clotting normally, can result in extended bleeding after injury, surgery or trauma, and can be fatal if not treated effectively. Because of this, people with hemophilia depend heavily on clotting factor replacement therapy derived from either human blood or made in the lab. It was through an infusion of clotting factor concentrate derived from human plasma that Bias contracted HIV and hepatitis C.
From the late 1970s to the mid-1980s – prior to more stringent blood safety measures and more sensitive tests – HIV (and hepatitis C and hepatitis B) from infected blood donors made its way into blood products. As a result, nearly half of all people with hemophilia became infected with HIV, many developed AIDS and thousands died. An unknown number of their partners contracted HIV, as well. People like Katie.
When doctors discovered Katie’s tumor, they gave her six months to live. She held on another four years, passing away in April, 1992. She declined day-by-day, and when she became too weak to continue her work in advertising, her coworkers assumed she had cancer. Learning of this misconception, Katie returned to tell them the truth.
“That’s true courage,” Bias remembers. “I’d like to say I had that same courage at the time, but that wouldn’t be true. I was running a large before- and after-school program at the local YMCA and was concerned that, if I revealed my diagnosis, I might lose my job. We needed my income, so I remained silent.”
Katie however did not. She demanded Bias never blame himself for what happened to her and in her final days, she placed three expectations on him. “She said, ’Remarry, have kids and fight to live your life.'”
Bias heeded her advice. He married a wonderful woman named Robin and together they adopted a boy named Langston. And he began to fight.
Taking the Red Tie Challenge
The year Katie died, Bias attended the National Hemophilia Foundation’s (NHF) annual meeting and was elected chairman of the board. “We began a crusade to help people who developed HIV from tainted blood products,” he remembers. The work culminated in the passage of the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Act of 1998. Ten years later, in 2008, Bias became NHF's CEO.
"In recent years, under NHF's leadership, great strides have been made in treatment, public policy and advocacy for the bleeding disorders community," says Bias. "So to ensure that momentum continues, NHF has created the Red Tie Challenge. It's fun—because it lets you be creative and silly—and it's important—because, by donating to NHF or to our chapters, you become part of the fight against bleeding disorders."
According to Bias, the red tie is the community's symbol and the Red Tie Challenge challenges you to get creative in wearing a red tie in three, easy steps: (1) Make a donation at www.RedTieChallenge.org; (2) Get a red tie, then record and share your best red tie style with #RedTieChallenge; and (3) Challenge your friends to join you in the fight.
To learn more, visit www.RedTieChallenge.com.
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