No…not THAT WatchMan!


WATCHMAN: A New Weapon in Stroke Prevention

Posted by Lisa O’Neill Hill

A medical device about the size of a quarter could help prevent stroke in people with atrial fibrillation (AFib) who are looking for an option to commonly-prescribed blood thinners. AFib is a significant risk factor for stroke.

The FDA approved the WATCHMAN device last year to be used in people whose AFib isn’t related to heart valve disease.

The WATCHMAN closes a small sack of tissue that comes off the heart. More than 90 percent of blood clots that form in the heart develop in that sack of tissue, called the left atrial appendage (LAA.) Those clots can break loose, travel through the blood stream and cause a stroke. The WATCHMAN stops clots from getting into the blood stream.

Blood thinners are considered the gold standard for treatment of AFib to prevent strokes, said Dr. Erik Altman, Chief of Electrophysiology at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, New York. But some patients, including older people prone to falls, aren’t good candidates for long-time use of blood thinners, he said.

“The LAA occlusion is a major advancement in the field of device therapy as another option to anti-coagulation and our ability to reduce the risk of stroke,” Dr. Altman said.

Dr. Altman has already performed 10 of these surgeries.

“All have done beautifully afterwards,” he said of his patients. “A handful are off blood thinners and over time, more will come off blood thinners.”

For 45 days after the procedure, patients have to take Coumadin (warfarin.) Patients then have a transesophageal echocardiogram to make sure the LAA is sealed off. If the results are positive, the patient can stop Coumadin.

“This offers a new opportunity to reduce the risk of stroke and offer a safe alternative through a minimally invasive procedure that takes less than an hour,” Dr. Altman said.

People with Afib are at a higher risk of stroke because they have irregular heartbeats that can cause blood to pool in the heart and possibly form a clot. People who have AFib are usually prescribed blood thinners such as warfarin.

The FDA says doctors should consider the risks and benefits of blood thinners compared to the device for each patient. The WATCHMAN is only recommended for patients who have an appropriate reason to seek a non-drug alternative to warfarin and who fit certain other criteria.

The WATCHMAN isn’t appropriate for several groups of people, including people with a blood clot in the heart, anyone who can’t tolerate blood thinners or anyone with nickel or titanium sensitivity, the FDA says.

If you know somebody with stroke or heart problems, sent this to them.  You never know!

Do you believe this?

Holy Cow

Do you believe this?↓

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 5.23.10 PM

My article got that many people to re-post this?

The post from the Mayo Clinic said:

Do forward this message. It may save lives!
“Life is a one time gift” (Let’s forward and hope this will help save some!!!)
If you’ve seen this before, reading it again will just reinforce it!


Is that what I should do?  Holy cow!  Look at the response!  My only problem: Everything I say doesn’t necessarily need to be forwarded.  Maybe the world would like to hear more about my stroke.  Or maybe the audiences are fascinated by me not being able to move my arm.  Doesn’t that send chills to your spine?
I will keep at it.  I will make it a point to look at the Mayo Clinic site more often.

Is physical activity good for you?


American Stroke Association


Physical activity improves heart function and lipid profile by lowering total cholesterol. It lowers blood pressure and resting heart rate. Being active reduces the risk and severity of diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity, and it improves strength, balance, endurance and long-term brain health. For stroke survivors, these benefits can spell the difference between dependence and independence.

In addition to those physical benefits, exercise can enhance self-confidence and independence and reduce depression and anxiety. As survivor Lorraine Essig, 87, said, “I can be in a bad mood, but after I’ve done my exercises, that disappears.”

Since Lorraine’s stroke seven years ago, she works out three days a week, despite right-side weakness and challenges with her balance that require her to use a cane.

She starts with 10 minutes of pedaling on a portable exercise cycle she puts in front of her chair. Then she does a balancing exercise — standing on both feet, she raises her arms to shoulder height, closes her eyes and counts to 60. Holding onto her walker, she does 20 steps in place, bringing her knees as high as the handholds on her walker. Then she does a routine of 14 exercises 20 times each; she increases benefit by adding 2.5 lb weights, strapped to her wrists or ankles depending on the exercise. “I started out doing each one 30 times, but it tired me out too much,” Lorraine said.

Physical Activity for Stroke Survivors

Growing Peace of Mind

Survivor David Layton of Summerfield, North Carolina has found that growing a summer garden is great for his recovery and his attitude. He shares some valuable tips on gardening with a disability.

My Garden of Independence
Survivor Marcia Rosenberg enjoys working in her garden built to match her abilities.

Going Down Hill and Loving It: Snow Skiing
Survivor Toni Johnson of Elk Rapids, Michigan had a stroke while skiing in 2002 at age 75. She made skiing again a goal of her recovery, and she has worked hard at it, even after breaking a leg in her first year back on the slopes. With the help of an adaptive sports group, Toni is not only skiing again but riding a recumbent tricycle. She may be an 80-year-old stroke survivor, but she is determined not to act her age!

Making Golf Accessible
Saving Strokes, a golf therapy program developed and run by the Western States Affiliate of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, has grown so much. More than 550 survivors have been through the program, and almost 800 more are expected to participate in events this year at 13 sites in California, Nevada and Utah. We have highlighted three California golfers in our coverage: Carl Valdrow, Bill Dodd and John Castiglia.

Martial Arts for Survivors!

Who’d have thought that an ancient Chinese martial art—tai chi—could improve the lives of modern-day stroke survivors? Tai chi consists of slow, coordinated movements of the head, trunk and limbs that require deep concentration and balance control.

Making a Splash
Water therapy may be a good alternative for survivors with balance problems and hemiparesis. This article explores this therapeutic option and gives resources for accessing it.

Adults With Heart Defects May Face Higher Risk of Stroke


Posted by Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

Adults who were born with heart defects are at increased risk for stroke, a new study finds.

“We knew there was a connection between heart failure and stroke in patients with heart defects, but we were surprised to discover it was the strongest predictor,” said senior study author Dr. Ariane Marelli, a professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal.

However, the study did not prove that heart defects cause stroke.

For the study, researchers looked at stroke rates among more than 29,000 adults born with heart defects, and compared them with rates among people in the general population of the province of Quebec, Canada.shutterstock_116455033 copy

Those with heart defects were nine to 12 times more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke (blocked blood flow to the brain) before age 55. In addition, they were two to four times more likely to have this type of stroke between the ages of 55 and 64, the investigators found.

The strongest predictors of ischemic strokes in adults with heart defects were heart failure, diabetes and recent heart attacks, the study authors said.

In addition, adults born with heart defects were five to six times more likely to have a bleeding (“hemorrhagic”) stroke before age 55, and two to three times more likely to have this type of stroke between the ages of 55 and 64.

Nearly 9 percent of men and 7 percent of women born with heart defects had at least one stroke before age 65, according to the study published online Nov. 23 in the journal Circulation.

“Our study also suggests that other well-known risk factors for stroke — such as irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure — may be under-detected in patients born with a heart defect,” study first author Dr. Jonas Lanz, a research fellow at McGill, said in a journal news release.

The findings show the need for adults born with heart defects to make regular visits to a cardiologist, to reduce their risk of stroke, Marelli said.

These patients, along with their family and friends, should also learn the signs of stroke and know how to get professional medical help quickly if a stroke is suspected, she added.
Every year, nearly 129,000 Americans die of stroke, which is the nation’s fifth leading cause of death.

SOURCE: Circulation, news release, Nov. 23, 2015

How did I miss that?


You wake up in a hospital, unaware of what happened. Your family and friends gather around to help you any way they can. Your family can’t make sense of what happened, so they see what is available on the internet.  That the problem!

You can’t find ANYTHING you need to do AFTER you had your stroke.

For me, that stroke was 7 years ago.  Now, 7 years later, it is different.  Now you can determine if your heart is stressing out..  You pay attention to FAST and you are aware of the stroke facts.  You have the signs, and your friends and relatives noticed it..and they tell you.

You may notice I DO have post-stroke examples of articles you CAN read.  OK, it’s 1, but it is a start: 5 Ways to Help Your Loved One with Receptive Aphasia  There will be MORE!

In the last 7 years, we have had major progress in stroke.  Now, stoke is the 5th leading cause of death in america..down from the 4th leading cause of death. That’s good news!

Fact or Myth……




MYTH: Stroke cannot be prevented. FACT: Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable.
MYTH: There is no treatment for stroke. FACT: At any sign of stroke call 9-1-1- immediately. Treatment may be available.
MYTH: Stroke only affects the elderly. FACT: Stroke can happen to anyone at any time.
MYTH: Stroke happens in the heart. FACT: Stroke is a “brain attack”.
MYTH: Stroke recovery only happens for the first few months after a stroke. FACT: Stroke recovery is a lifelong process.
MYTH: Strokes are rare. FACT: There are nearly 7 million stroke survivors in the U.S. Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S.
MYTH: Strokes are not hereditary. FACT: Family history of stroke increases your chance for stroke.
MYTH: If stroke symptoms go away, you don’t have to see a doctor. FACT: Temporary stroke symptoms are called transient ischemic attacks (TIA). They are warning signs prior to actual stroke and need to be taken seriously.

Source: National Stroke Association


How do you need to care for your heart?

IMG_0547Jill delivered her speech at a Wellness Seminar this week end.

Imagine what life would be like if each person you knew actually followed these directions? These are the items were “hear” all the time but don’t necessarily follow them.

Think about what it would be like NOT worrying about these factors?  Imagine if people quit smoking….or lost weight…or worked out regularly?   Can you picture what life would be like?

It is this easy!  Sure…things are going to just happen. That’s life.  But wouldn’t it make sense to minimize those fears?  Think about it!

If you have over weight friends in your life, people who need to exercise, etc, show them this blog and have them call me to talk about it.  People can change!