Younger Americans Are Experiencing Strokes!!

Posted by Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter 

The study looked at a sample of data from some U.S. stroke hospitalizations. From 2003 to 2004 in this sample, more than 141,000 people from 18 to 65 were admitted to hospitals for stroke. By 2011 to 2012, that number had risen to more than 171,000, researchers found.

“Our results stress the importance of prevention of stroke risk factors in younger adults,” said lead author Dr. Mary George. She’s a senior medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of heart disease and stroke prevention.

“Young adults, ages 18 to 54, are experiencing a small but sustained increase in stroke and in the prevalence of traditional stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, tobacco use and obesity,” George said.

Up to 80 percent of strokes are thought to be preventable, she said.

George said the study’s findings “should prompt a sense of urgency to promote and engage young adults in practicing healthy behaviors, such as exercising, eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoiding smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight.”

The impact of a stroke is significant at any stage of life, she said.

But George added, “It is uniquely complex when younger adults in the midst of careers, serving as wage earners and caregivers, may suffer disability that can impact their lives and the lives of family members and loved ones.”

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Each year stroke kills more than 130,000 Americans. Stroke is also a leading cause of disability, George said.
To study trends in stroke, the researchers used a database of some U.S. hospital stays gleaned from billing records. The 2003-2004 data included more than 362,000 stroke hospitalizations. The 2011-2012 information included nearly 422,000 stroke hospitalizations.

There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, is a stroke that occurs when a blood clot blocks the blood supply to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by bleeding in the brain from a ruptured blood vessel.

Men between 35 and 44 years old saw a striking increase of 41.5 percent in hospitalizations from ischemic stroke over the two study periods.

The researchers found that the rate of hemorrhagic strokes remained basically stable during the study period. The one exception was in the 45 to 54 age group. There was a slight decline in hemorrhagic strokes for men and blacks in that age group, the study showed.

The researchers think an increase in stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking, are behind the rise in strokes among younger adults.

During the study, the percentage of people with three or more stroke risk factors roughly doubled for all age groups.

“Preventing and controlling stroke risk factors among young adults can save lives, reduce disability, decrease health care costs and improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of people and their families,” George said.

The study was published online April 10 in the journal JAMA Neurology.

One specialist questioned the use of billing data to uncover trends in stroke and isn’t sure a real increase in strokes among younger adults is occurring.

“The systems for counting stroke in the United States are extremely limited,” said Dr. James Burke, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan.

“Credible alternatives may explain what appears to be an increase in stroke among young men and women, but is not,” said Burke, who co-wrote an accompanying journal editorial.

“MRIs are more widely used, which can lead to an increase in diagnosis of stroke,” he said.

“MRIs are being used for all kinds of things, and so when you put lots and lots of people in MRI scanners, for example for headaches, we will find asymptomatic brain injury that is stroke-like, and how much classifying of these as stroke is not clear,” Burke said.
In addition, the United States doesn’t have extensive databases that track patients and medical conditions, he said.

“Our ability to make strong conclusions is surprisingly limited since we don’t have national health data on everybody. When we are making these measurements, we are looking at a small chunk of the population,” Burke said.

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Am I a Disability Guru?

I am beginning to think I am!  Why, you may ask?  Let me tell you my thoughts.

First of all, it’s kind of cool to start being thought of in that way.  When people see me, they respect me for all I have been through. I have my disability and I’m happy for that.

But I don’t want to be respected. (After I said it, I thought about it and wish to renege that.)  I want to give hope and encouragement to all of those people who may be effected by a heart attack, kidney failure, loss of a friend, cancer, stroke…or anything else.  You can live life as you choose: with regret and pity…or with happiness for each day you have.   It is your choice.

  • You can choose to be happy with your disability
  • You can choose to live life to the fullest with your disability
  • You can choose to be happy for each day you have with your disability

I will tell you my secret: you can choose whatever you want!  My choice is to be happy.  Some people I know have LOTS of THINGS…and I don’t begrudge them; I am HAPPY for them; good for you! It’s not WHAT you have. It’s this:  are you happy?

A while back (9 years ago), I had lot of THINGS.  But when they were all gone, it didn’t matter. Everyday that I wake up to see my beautiful wife, I feel blessed. I have nothing to complain about…I am truly the happiest man on earth.

 

Exercise key to stroke recovery…who knew?

Source: AAP
US researchers have found a person’s body mass index is not a factor in predicting their level of disability after stroke.
Regular exercise may not always prevent a stroke but it could determine how well a person recovers from one.

A Harvard University study published in journal Neurology found those who exercised “vigorously” three times a week or more prior to a stroke were more likely to be independent after the medical emergency compared to those who were inactive.

“We also found that a person’s body mass index (BMI) was not a factor in predicting their level of disability after stroke,” said lead author Dr Pamela Rist.

Body mass index is a measure of a person’s body fat based on their height and weight. Having too much body fat may be a risk to a person’s health.

For the study, researchers followed more than 18,000 people who were initially stroke-free for an average of 12 years.

Participants were interviewed every other year about their ability to do basic activities and were also asked for their height, weight and whether they participated in vigorous physical activity or exercise.

Vigorous physical activity was defined as participating in sports, heavy housework or a job that required physical labour.

During the study, 1,374 of the participants had a stroke and survived and 479 people had a stroke and died before the next round of interviews.

Of those who did not have a stroke, 45 per cent were physically active, compared to 43 per cent of those who had a stroke and survived.

Among the stroke survivors, those who were physically inactive were 18 per cent less likely to be taking care of their basic activities such as bathing on their own three years after stroke than those who exercised regularly.

They were also 16 per cent less likely to be taking care of more complex activities such as managing money on their own.

“Our study was able to show that being physically inactive before stroke predicts a higher risk of being dependent both before and after stroke,” Dr Rist said.

“Research is needed to look into whether more intense activity could improve stroke outcomes and whether people can change their activity patterns to improve stroke outcomes.”

I don’t believe it; should I have included a picture?

Wow…I don’t believe it.  I posted that Jill will be speaking on April 26, and EVERYONE that logged into my Blog to read more about it.  When I wrote my last post about me having reading challenges, hardly anyone logged on to read it!

I don’t understand it.  Sure, Jill was there to help me through my recovery.  She help me re-learn EVERYTHING, she walked with me, she cared for our two beautiful children, she took care of all the bills, she took care of the house, she shopped for the groceries, she took me out driving so she could re-acquaint me with Lake Oswego, she helped the children with their homework, she listened to our kids complain about me, she cooked delicious meals EVERY NIGHT, she said prayers EVERY night, etc.  But thats it.  I did everything else: I sat around having people wait on me.

Now I feel dumb; I guess she WAS fantastic!  OK, sure…come see Jill speak about HOW she handled this crises with grace, faith and with love.

Now, can I talk about me?  If you didn’t read my LAST post, please continue…

I still struggle. Let’s see if I can explain it.

I recently read the birthday cards I received. They were very funny to everyone in the room.  But when I read them out loud, I had to concentrate on every word.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know what I was reading, but people laughed.

If I read them out loud several times, I might get the humor but it would take work.  It is hard to explain the disorganization in my brain.  When I read, I see each word but I can’t connect them in any context.  They are just a bunch of individual words.

Even now, Jill is writing this for me because I can’t do it myself.  I tried to tell her what I wanted to write about but my explanation was all over the place.  She asked me questions and worked with me until she understood what I am trying to explain.  It is frustrating but luckily, we work well together and usually laugh as we talk things through.

Language and cognition are big hurdles.  It has been 9 years and I am still trying!

See…wasn’t that REALLY good stuff???

Do you believe me?  Check out the following:

After 9 years, I still have trouble…

I still struggle. Let’s see if I can explain it.

I recently read the birthday cards I received. They were very funny to everyone in the room.  But when I read them out loud, I had to concentrate on every word.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know what I was reading, but people laughed.

If I read them out loud several times, I might get the humor but it would take work.  It is hard to explain the disorganization in my brain.  When I read, I see each word but I can’t connect them in any context.  They are just a bunch of individual words.

Even now, Jill is writing this for me because I can’t do it myself.  I tried to tell her what I wanted to write about but my explanation was all over the place.  She asked me questions and worked with me until she understood what I am trying to explain.  It is frustrating but luckily, we work well together and usually laugh as we talk things through.

Language and cognition are big hurdles.  It has been 9 years and I am still trying!

Jill is just amazing! Come see her speak….

Jill Viggiano headshot

Business Men And Women of
PORTLAND BUSINESS LUNCHEON
Invite you to Downtown April 26 with

Jill Viggiano

 You are invited to join us for our Downtown PBL luncheon, on Wednesday, April 26th at the University Club in downtown Portland. Our guest speaker will be Jill Viggiano.
Jill Viggiano spent 19 years working in commercial real estate before retiring to become a full time mom. As an active volunteer, Jill couldn’t help but raise her hand and take on leadership roles in the community.
The opportunity to form and advance philanthropic organizations and their causes kept her engaged in both local and national efforts. Jill’s style is to create a team environment where cooperation and accomplishment happen while having fun.
When her husband survived a massive stroke in 2008, Jill focused her skills on his recovery. She now assists him in his day-to-day needs as well as in his speaking career.
Jill wrote Painful Blessing, a book about her spouse and caregiver experience shedding light on the real life impact of acquired brain injury, and providing hope and encouragement to those facing significant challenges.
Jill’s story will touch your soul and inspire you to press through any circumstance. The cost of lunch is $25.00. Register today and invite a friend.
LUNCHEON DETAILS
RSVP REQUIRED
UNIVERSITY CLUB
1225 SW 6th Ave. Portland, OR 97204
WEDNESDAY APRIL 26TH
11:45 AM- 1:15 P

 

I just had to cry…


I give only a few free speeches now; mainly to colleges. But the Beers Executive Networking Group approached me and I had to say yes!  They are a good group that I heard about, but never had the chance to visit.

The Beers Executive Networking Group (BENG) is a collection of successful mid to senior level professionals and executives who are dedicated to supporting each other during career transition and growth. Each BENG member approaches his/her job search proactively. The active BENG members focus on expanding their networks for the purpose of identifying and targeting their ideal company and role. They help and openly share information about the opportunities they are working on with other BENG members in the weekly meetings they attend. Attendance is crucial for our group and as such, it is mandatory that all members meet at least an 75% monthly attendance and participation.

The Beers Group’s active members are currently unemployed and proactively searching for that new special opportunity. When a BENG member secures his/her dream role they move into what we call Champagne status. BENG members who secure new opportunities that, while they may not be thier dream role or company, become our Ginger-Ale members. These members continue to grow professionally and while transitioning into their dream jobs, they continue on thier path of working toward Champagne status.

As BENG members find their champagne roles, they transition from active status to that of alumni. All alumni are committed to helping BENG members that continue to look for their new opportunities. It is part of our culture and our commitment to the group to give a Beers Group member at least 20 minutes of for an in person meeting. Building relationships in the 21st requires meeting someone in person. Phone, email and or smoke signals doesn’t really provide the opportunity for either party to know each other. As many of our members are now spread out across the world, digital communication is understandable.

I had a great feeling watching the members of Beers as they experienced my talk.  And, of course, they all gave me a standing ovation!  I cried thinking about how special these people were….and each one was looking for work. It was very moving!  I wish I could hire all of them.  When I inquired, there success rate in getting a job was something like 80%!  To me, that was impressive.

Rats!

Posted by Lynn Bronikowski  

Study: Marijuana use associated with increased risk of stroke!  Using marijuana raises the risk of stroke and heart failure even after accounting for demographic factors, other health conditions and lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and alcohol use, according to new national research.

Coming at a time when marijuana, medically known as cannabis, is on track to become legal for medical or recreational use in more than half of U.S. states, this study sheds new light on how the drug affects cardiovascular health. While previous marijuana research has focused mostly on pulmonary and psychiatric complications, the new study is one of only a handful to investigate cardiovascular outcomes.

“Like all other drugs, whether they’re prescribed or not prescribed, we want to know the effects and side effects of this drug,” said Aditi Kalla, MD, Cardiology Fellow at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and the study’s lead author. “It’s important for physicians to know these effects so we can better educate patients, such as those who are inquiring about the safety of cannabis or even asking for a prescription for cannabis.”

The study drew data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which includes the health records of patients admitted at more than 1,000 hospitals comprising about 20 percent of U.S. medical centers. Researchers extracted records from young and middle-aged patients—age 18-55 years— who were discharged from hospitals in 2009 and 2010, when marijuana use was illegal in most states.

Marijuana use was diagnosed in about 1.5 percent (316,000) of more than 20 million health records included in the analysis. Comparing cardiovascular disease rates in these patients to disease rates in patients not reporting marijuana use, researchers found marijuana use was associated with a significantly increased risk for stroke, heart failure, coronary artery disease and sudden cardiac death.

Marijuana use was also linked with a variety of factors known to increase cardiovascular risk, such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking and alcohol use. After researchers adjusted the analysis to account for these factors, marijuana use was independently associated with a 26 percent increase in the risk of stroke and a 10 percent increase in the risk of developing heart failure.

“Even when we corrected for known risk factors, we still found a higher rate of both stroke and heart failure in these patients, so that leads us to believe that there is something else going on besides just obesity or diet-related cardiovascular side effects,” Kalla said. “More research will be needed to understand the pathophysiology behind this effect.”

Research in cell cultures shows that heart muscle cells have cannabis receptors relevant to contractility, or squeezing ability, suggesting that those receptors might be one mechanism through which marijuana use could affect the cardiovascular system. It is possible that other compounds could be developed to counteract that mechanism and reduce cardiovascular risk, Kalla said.

Because the study was based on hospital discharge records, the findings may not be reflective of the general population. The study was also limited by the researchers’ inability to account for quantity or frequency of marijuana use, purpose of use (recreational or medical), or delivery mechanism (smoking or ingestion).

Kalla suggested that the growing trend toward legalization of marijuana could mean that patients and doctors will become more comfortable speaking openly about marijuana use, which could allow for better data collection and further insights into the drug’s effects and side effects.

The research was scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session.

 

Sometimes, people send me an article worth reading…

Pain Relief?

 

Posted by Lynn Bronikowski 

I had my stroke 14 years ago and suffered from post-stroke chronic shoulder pain. I tried anything to help with the pain. After seven years of PT/OT rehabilitation, I said, “This is it—this is the best I’m ever going to get” so I stopped. I had to just suck it up when it came to the pain.

I tried everything you can think of though—I had a sling to stop my shoulder from moving but that was useless. I tried pain med after pain med but nothing succeeded. All of it was to no avail.

One day my stroke doctor sent me to a pain management doctor who introduced me to StimRouter™. I had to laugh at first; I thought nothing can take this pain away. But I had tried everything else so I said, “Let’s give it a shot.” Once the StimRouter was implanted, everything was pretty much OK with my pain. I can say the stimulator is working very well for me.

I was programmed by the doctor two weeks after the implant and after a day of using the StimRouter system with my remote control my pain started to go away. I would keep it on for about two hours and then I wouldn’t need it for the rest of the day because the pain relief carried over. I was really impressed with how fast it worked.

Before StimRouter, I would say my pain went off the scale—above a 10 for sure—because my pain was really bad. Sometimes it hurt to breathe. Now with the help of StimRouter, my pain is only a 2 or 3 at the most.

I wear my system all day but I only turn it on every six to eight hours depending on what I’m doing that day. The patches stay on well but come off just as easily. When it’s on, it feels like a massage chair on your arm.

The StimRouter works well for me; I feel very lucky. I can lift my arm enough to put on deodorant now and I’ve picked up some new hobbies. It’s a process and I still have goals—like being able to ride my bike—but I would recommend StimRouter to people in pain without a doubt in my mind.

I didn’t expect much at first but was quite surprised, very happily surprised. The StimRouter is great. If anyone asked me, I would tell them straight out—it works and it works well for me.

For more information on StimRouter, visit the Bioness website.

National Stroke Association provides educational information about treatments for post-stroke issues through real-life stories. Promotion of these stories does not imply endorsement of any product or service and it is recommended that patients ask a healthcare professional before using any product, medicine, or therapy.