Stroke awareness: It's always an emergency
(BPT) - The sudden onset of stroke symptoms can happen to anyone at any time, making education about the signs and symptoms of a “brain attack” the first line of defense to stroke prevention.
“I’m a fanatical fan of football, so you can imagine how excited I was to enter the stadium to see my favorite team play; but I lost my balance and fell. I’m lucky the people near me jumped into action and called 911,” recalled stroke survivor William Martin. “They are the real heroes in my medical emergency story; they knew the signs of a stroke.”
Stroke is the second leading cause of death and third leading cause of disability worldwide. Today, only 10% of stroke survivors make a full recovery and 25% recover with minor impairments. Forty percent of survivors experience moderate to severe impairments that require special care. Strokes are common and deadly but the good news is almost all strokes can be prevented.
What is stroke
A stroke happens when the blood vessels carrying nutrients to the brain either form a clot or rupture, causing a sudden blockage in the arteries leading to the brain. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it and brain cells die.
How to prevent stroke
What can you do to prevent stroke?
1. Monitor your blood pressure
2. Control your cholesterol
3. Keep your blood sugar down
4. Keep active
5. Eat healthy
6. Lose weight if necessary
7. Do not smoke
In the event of stroke: Act F.A.S.T
“Every minute from the time the stroke occurs to when you receive treatment makes a difference,” said neurointerventional radiologist at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City Jared Halpin, M.D. “Many types of stroke are now treatable with emergency medical interventions to either quickly dissolve or remove the blood clot or stop the bleeding that is causing symptoms.”
Seek treatment, F.A.S.T. Follow the acronym below to check for signs of stroke:
• FACE Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven or lopsided?
• ARM Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
• SPEECH: Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
• TIME to Call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
“My doctor restored the blood flow in my brain by threading a tube through an artery in my leg and used a medical device called Solitaire™ X to remove the clot. I was surprised I didn’t need brain surgery,” said Mr. Martin. “The best part — I watched the final quarter of the game on TV while in the hospital recovery room.”
Eighty million people have survived stroke worldwide. For more information on stroke prevention tips and treatment options please visit the World Stroke Organization at www.world-stroke.org.
If you worry that you or someone you love will get heart disease or even have a heart attack, it’s understandable. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. However, research shows you can lower your risk, particularly if you team up with family, friends or co-workers. Consider these five tips that can help lower your risk of heart disease.
5 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health
(Family Features) If you worry that you or someone you love will get heart disease or even have a heart attack, it’s understandable.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
Research shows you can lower your risk, particularly if you team up with family, friends or co-workers. This kind of social support may be the key to your success.
To mark American Heart Month, NHLBI, one of the National Institutes of Health, is inviting people across the country to team up and join #OurHearts, a national heart health initiative that encourages people to improve heart health together.
“Studies show that having positive, close relationships and feeling connected to others benefits overall health, blood pressure, weight and more,” said NHLBI’s Dr. David Goff, director of cardiovascular sciences.
Consider these five tips that can help lower your risk of heart disease:
Risk: An unhealthy diet
Risk: Smoking, even occasionally
Risk: Inadequate or poor-quality sleep
Risk: Uncontrolled stress
Learn about heart health and heart healthy activities in your community at nhlbi.nih.gov/ourhearts. Use #OurHearts on social media to share how you and your friends, colleagues or family members are being heart healthy together.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Stroke is often thought of as something that happens to older people, but more people under 50 are having strokes due to increased risky behaviors, such as smoking and untreated high blood pressure. In recognition of World Stroke Day, consider these five tips to help reduce your risk of stroke and maintain mental sharpness as you age.
Tips to Improve Wellness and Prevent Stroke
(Family Features) Stroke is often thought of as something that happens to older people, but more people under 50 are having strokes due to increased risky behaviors, such as smoking and untreated high blood pressure.
Strokes don’t discriminate, according to the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke. They can happen to anyone, at any age. About 1 in 4 people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime. However, up to 80% of first strokes may be prevented.
“Healthy habits can protect and improve brain function and lower your stroke risk,” said Dr. Lee Schwamm, MD, American Stroke Association volunteer chairman and executive vice chairman, department of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
In recognition of World Stroke Day on Oct. 29, the American Stroke Association offers these five tips to help reduce your risk of stroke and maintain mental sharpness as you age:
“These simple suggestions are great for everyone to follow, even if you don’t think you’re likely to have a stroke,” Schwamm said. “While many adults don’t think they are at risk for stroke or reduced brain function, the reality is that nearly half of all adults in America have high blood pressure, and untreated high blood pressure is one of the most common causes of stroke and also causes up to 60% of dementia.”
For more information and tips for preventing stroke, visit Stroke.org/WorldStrokeDay.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Heart Association
Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke. These top five causes of death in the United States all have a higher incidence of death among rural residents and research points to lack of access to health care as a culprit. Consider these challenges and solutions facing rural Americans.
Health Care Solutions for Rural Americans
(Family Features) Heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke. These top five causes of death in the United States all have a higher incidence of death among rural residents and research points to lack of access to health care as a culprit.
According to the University of North Carolina’s Rural Health Research Program, since 2010, more than 105 of America’s 1,700 rural hospitals have closed. Additionally, a Navigant report found that 21% of rural hospitals are at high risk of closing unless their financial situations improve.
Every day, rural Americans find themselves farther from medical care.
Practical challenges facing patients
Fatal injuries and illnesses aside, rural residents face other practical concerns related to the health care in their communities.
One solution to fill the gap in rural health care is air medical services, which transport patients to critical care facilities in minutes. With nearly 90% of patients transported living in rural areas, air ambulance services are an essential part of health care access in these communities.
However, just like rural hospitals, air ambulances are threatened as well. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates have remained steady for decades, while operational costs required for air medical services have increased, creating a financially unsustainable situation. Some private insurers also refuse to cover air medical services or pay minimal costs, requiring patients to assume the balance.
How to take action
The challenges facing rural health care access may be significant, but rural residents can take individual actions to make a difference for themselves, their families and even their communities.
Protecting Patients Against the Unexpected
With increasing frequency, insurance companies are not covering the full cost of medical emergencies, leaving families with out-of-pocket expenses they didn’t expect.
If you need medical transport and a physician or first responder determines air evacuation is the best – or only – option to get you to care, you shouldn’t have to worry about the bill you’ll receive afterward. Many emergency service providers have support efforts in place to help you focus on recovery, not finances.
For example, many air medical companies provide patients access to their patient advocates, who work with the patient’s insurance provider to properly cover air medical transport, taking the patient out of the middle. This process can result in significantly lower costs for the patient, often amounting to just the usual copay and deductible.
Visit globalmedicalresponse.com/protect-patients to learn more about these services in your area.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (doctor and man, woman speaking with doctor on computer)SOURCE:
Global Medical Response
One common condition to be aware of is atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. The first step toward managing AFib and preventing serious health complications is gaining knowledge about the condition. Increase your awareness with these facts.
How to Reduce Health Risks by Understanding AFib
(Family Features) Oftentimes, seeking to improve your health starts at your core – your heart. One common condition to be aware of is atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.
Currently impacting up to 6.1 million Americans, AFib is projected to double by 2030, according to the American Heart Association. One in three individuals is at risk for developing AFib over the course of his or her lifetime, and the likelihood of developing the condition increases by almost 40 percent after the age of 55.
The average person living with AFib has a five-fold increase of experiencing a stroke than someone with a regular heartbeat. However, proper diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the chances of associated heart health complications, including stroke.
The first step toward managing AFib and preventing serious health complications is gaining knowledge about the condition. The experts at the American Heart Association are working to elevate awareness with these facts:
Symptoms and signs
“Atrial fibrillation can be challenging to diagnose,” said Dr. Georgeanne Freeman, a board-certified family medicine doctor and American Heart Association volunteer expert. “If you are feeling out of the ordinary, whether it's a racing pulse or irregular heartbeat associated with shortness of breath and fatigue, it’s time to speak with your doctor to learn your risk for AFib and lower your chance for stroke.”
Other common symptoms include dizziness, weakness, faintness or confusion; fatigue when exercising; sweating and chest pain or pressure.
People of African, Asian or Hispanic ancestry are typically less likely to suffer from AFib. However, research suggests that those with African or Hispanic ancestry living with AFib have a higher risk of death when the condition is combined with another factor such as heart failure or high blood pressure.
To learn more and to access AFib tools and resources, visit heart.org/AFib.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Heart Association
(BPT) - Many Americans consider themselves well-informed and attentive when it comes to their health.
That’s why it's so puzzling that many remain unfazed by the threat of heart disease.
That was among the findings of the MDVIP Heart Attack IQ Survey, a national study showing Americans are more concerned about cancer than a heart attack — even though cardiovascular disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined. In fact, heart disease is the underlying cause of one in three U.S. deaths. Many Americans don’t take it seriously because they believe most heart problems can be treated with medication or surgery, while others simply procrastinate when it comes to adopting healthier behaviors that help prevent heart disease.
As a result, many are surprised when faced with a life-threatening heart attack, which can happen to anyone at any age. While the average age for a first attack is 66 for men and 70 for women, the risk increases significantly as soon as men reach 45 and women reach 55.
“Despite the statistics, people assume a heart attack is going to happen to somebody else, but not to them,” said MDVIP Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrea Klemes. “Heart disease can be dangerously silent, which is why it’s important to know your risk factors and the steps you can take to minimize them.”
Gloom and doom aside, awareness of the issue is the first step, and there is much you can do to prevent heart disease. Some 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes are preventable.
Consider these suggestions for reducing your risk of heart attack:
* Partner with your primary. Your primary care doctor is your first line of defense in helping prevent heart disease. Make sure you partner with a physician who has the time to identify and discuss your risk in detail, who will work on a plan to control your risk factors and who can provide ongoing support to keep you motivated and accountable. Physicians like those in the MDVIP network maintain smaller practices so that they can devote more time to each patient and provide the coaching needed to keep them on track.
* Stay up to date on screenings. When’s the last time you had your blood pressure and cholesterol checked? But don’t stop at the basics. Most heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. You also want to get a read on whether you have inflammation in your arteries or insulin resistance, both of which raise your heart disease risk. You can only act on what you know, and knowing your numbers is key to early detection.
* Make heart-healthy changes. Creating and sustaining healthy lifestyle habits can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar in check and lower your risk for heart disease. So don’t skip your exercise, weight management or smoking cessation programs. Just make sure you consult with your doctor before changing your diet or beginning a new exercise program.
* Sleep more, stress less. While often overlooked, insufficient sleep and excessive stress can put strain on your heart over time. Both can also influence your eating habits, mood and overall health. Most adults need seven to nine hours per night; if you’re getting that and still feel tired, consider asking your doctor for a sleep apnea test. Also, try starting a regular practice — whether it’s a yoga class, deep breathing or a daily walk outside — to better manage stress.
Take the Heart Attack IQ quiz and learn more about finding a preventive physician by visiting www.mdvip.com/HeartAttackIQ.
Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke are among the most common causes of illness, disability and death in the United States. These chronic conditions and the factors that lead to them can be more common or severe in minorities, including Hispanics, but there are services available that can help people living with chronic conditions coordinate care services and lead to better outcomes and higher satisfaction.
Chronic Conditions More Common in Hispanics
(Family Features) Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke are among the most common causes of illness, disability and death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These chronic conditions and the factors that lead to them can be more common or severe in minorities, including Hispanics.
For example, 4 out of 10 Hispanics die due to heart disease or cancer, and they are 50 percent more likely to die due to diabetes than Caucasians, according to the CDC.
If you are a Medicare beneficiary with two or more chronic conditions, ask your doctor about CCM and see if you’re eligible for connected care, including services such as:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Health Resources and Service Administration introduced the “Connected Care” campaign to help raise awareness about the benefits of CCM. The campaign has free resources, including an animated video in English and Spanish that can help you learn more.
Talk to your doctor to see if CCM is available to you and visit Medicare.gov to learn more about the benefits of the program.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Sleep is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but sleep problems – such as sleep apnea, which is a serious breathing disorder that causes you to snore loudly and stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night – can hinder sleep quality and lead to other severe health complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, erectile dysfunction, acid reflux, diabetes and stroke. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea and could be at risk for these health complications, see a doctor to discuss your sleep problems and treatment options.
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