May is Stroke Awareness Month. It’s a good time to educate yourself about the warning signs of a stroke and how you can help save lives and improve recovery by responding F.A.S.T.
Last year, many of the 795,000 Americans who suffered a stroke did not get the right lifesaving treatment in time. In an effort to help decrease that number, we want to help educate people about the signs and symptoms of a stroke. It’s easy to remember through the acronym F.A.S.T.
Face drooping – Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
Arm weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech difficultly – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like, “The grass is green.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
Time to call 9-1-1 – If any of these symptoms are shown, even if they appear to go away, call 9-1-1, and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you know when the first symptoms appeared.
Other symptoms to be aware of:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
To learn more about the warning signs go to strokeassociation.org/warningsigns.
If you think you are at risk for a stroke, talk to your health care provider so they can work together with you to prevent or treat medical conditions that can lead to stroke.
Many times the word “concussion” gets tossed around when someone has fallen or been hit in the head at a sporting event. But how many of us actually know what happens in the brain for a concussion to occur or how to gauge the seriousness of one?
A concussion is defined as a type of traumatic brain injury usually caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall or another injury that jars or shakes the brain. This blow or jolt to the head triggers a complex flood of physiologic events that lead to a disruption in the proper functioning of the brain reflected by a group of signs and symptoms.
Many times when I see patients who have concussions, they occur while playing sports with physical contact, such as basketball, football, soccer, snowboarding, hockey, boxing and wrestling. Although there may be bruises or scrapes, there are no other outward signs of a concussion. People don’t even have to loss consciousness to have one. Continue Reading »
The holiday season is fast approaching, and we see lots of red, green, gold and silver in the stores and our homes as we prepare for upcoming celebrations. But for some, the dominant color of the holidays is blue. Some may wonder, “How can this be? I’m supposed to feel happy and excited, looking forward to spending time with family!” Others may think, “How can the holidays be enjoyable when I have so much added stress with decorating, preparing meals, not to mention buying gifts when we hardly get by paying our bills each month. Where’s the money going to come from?” Finally there are those who may think, “I dread the thought of having another family argument at Thanksgiving because Uncle Jerry gets drunk and tells everybody what he really thinks!”
To survive, and even thrive, during this time, consider the following recommendations according to WebMD:
- Be realistic: There is no such thing as a “perfect” holiday (someone would have discovered it by now). Concentrate on the traditions that make holidays meaningful for you and your family.
- Know your spending limit: Money is the largest factor for stress during the holidays, and is compounded by current economic strain. Keeping your spending to a realistic amount will greatly reduce stress for both you and your loved ones.
- Share the tasks: Expect (or allow) others to help with food preparation and other tasks. Engage your children, grandchildren, nieces/nephews, etc. in the preparation in an enjoyable manner to continue old traditions or create new ones.
- Learn to say “no”: It’s important to let others (and yourself) know you have limits. Consider the positives in setting limits for others.
- Keep a regular schedule: Eating, sleeping, exercising and limiting your alcohol intake are vital ingredients for managing stress and reducing depressive symptoms.
- Get support if you need it: This may be the first holiday season since the death of a loved one, a breakup of a significant relationship or seeing family member(s) you avoid due to conflict. Although it may be difficult or embarrassing, asking for help can be more beneficial than doing it alone. “Pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” is a common myth for dealing with depression but it only further isolates individuals who need support.