Posts Tagged ‘stroke’

Takeaways from Dr. Belagaje’s Stroke Recovery Live Chat

Stroke Recovery ChatThank you to everyone who joined us on May 28, for our live chat on Stroke Recovery. There were some great questions and we hope you found stroke neurologist, Dr. Samir Belagaje’s discussion informative. If you missed the chat, feel free to review the full chat transcript.

There was such a good response, we didn’t have time to address all of the questions you submitted during the chat, so we will answer those below:

Question: What other things can be done besides going to a recovery center?

Samir BelagajeDr. Belagaje: Certainly one can develop a home exercise/rehabilitation plan and continue to work on improving their stroke related deficits in that fashion. However, I strongly recommend that stroke recovery be completed under the guidance of a health care expert in that area or going to a stroke recovery center. They can look at medications which may be adversely affecting the recovery process, start new ones, screen/treat for depression, and provide opportunities to participate in clinical trials which would allow one to get access to latest technology and developments.

Question: Does the brain actually recover from a stroke or are you just ‘retraining’ different parts of your brain? How is it recovering?

Samir BelagajeDr. Belagaje: Great question! People recover from stroke in 3 major ways:

  • Adaptation– In this method, people just “learn to live with deficits” and find ways to adapt or get along with them. Examples would be the use of prisms in eye glasses for post-stroke visual problems or using a cane/walker to help with walking. Another example would be for a person to learn to feed themselves with their opposite hand
  • Regeneration– this involves growing new brain cells and them getting to the area of stroke and repairing that area. This is the way that stem cells and other biotherapeutics may help. It is an exciting area for stroke recovery research.
  • Rewiring– this is probably the major way of stroke recovery in the brain and the mechanism most therapy is geared towards. It is also the way that you are alluding to in your question when you talk about “retraining different parts of the brain”. Most therapy is geared towards getting those undamaged parts of the brain to rewire and take over the function of the damaged portions

Question: My dad lives in the UK and suffered a stroke. What can he do to help himself?

Samir BelagajeDr. Belagaje: Sorry to hear about your father. It really depends how long ago his stroke was and what kind of deficits he has post-stroke. In general terms, he should continue to stay as active as possible and continue to work on his deficits with therapy/rehab team. I would also encourage family and close friends to monitor for post-stroke depression symptoms and alert his health care providers if they notice depression symptoms.

Question: How do you regain normal vision after stroke?

Samir BelagajeDr. Belagaje: Admittedly, post-stroke vision deficits are challenging as we don’t have as good and effective and proven visual rehab therapy/techniques compared to some other deficits. If her stroke is greater than 6 months, I would recommend seeing a neuro-ophthalmologist for possible prisms in the glasses (this would be an adaptation technique I mentioned in an answer to another question). In addition, working with an occupational therapist (OT) may also help to improve visual field deficits and develop compensation techniques.

 

 

 

Stroke Awareness Month Events at Emory Healthcare

Stroke EventsAccording to the American Heart Association, stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. In recognition of May as National Stroke Awareness Month, Emory Healthcare encourages you to learn the signs, symptoms and risk factors for stroke. Mark your calendar for the following events:

Community Stroke Fair

When: Wednesday, May 13, 2015; 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: Emory University Hospital Midtown Medical Office Tower Lobby
Why:

  • Learn the signs and symptoms of stroke
  • Free blood pressure screening
  • Ask a neurologist about stroke care
  • Hear about stroke rehabilitation programs
  • Speak to a pharmacist
  • Get your BMI checked
  • Free gift bags

5K Scrub Run and Community Health Festival

When: Saturday, May 16, 2015; 8 am to 11am
Where: Emory Johns Creek Hospital parking lot
Why:

  • Learn the signs and symptoms of stroke
  • Free glucose and cholesterol
  • Free blood pressure screening
  • Get your BMI checked

Stroke Awareness Fair

When: Tuesday, May 19, 2015; 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Emory Clinic Motor Lobby between buildings A and B
Why:

  • Learn the signs and symptoms of stroke
  • Understand how to manage blood pressure, exercise properly and maintain a healthy diet
  • Talk with experts about stroke prevention and response for suspected stroke

Stroke LIVE Chat

stroke-recovery-chat

 When: Thursday, May 28, 2015; 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
 Where: Online
 Why:

  •  Learn about stroke recovery and rehabilitation from Dr. Samir Belagaje, stroke neurologist at Emory  University and Director of Stroke Rehabilitation at the Marcus Stroke Center. Dr. Belaje will answer  questions during a LIVE interactive chat.

Chat Sign Up

Stroke is an emergency. If you or someone around you is experiencing signs or symptoms of stroke, CALL 911 immediately.

Emory Honors World Stroke Day

World Stroke DayOn this Wednesday, October 29, people all across the globe will celebrate World Stroke Day. This day was established in 2006 to raise public awareness of the warning signs of stroke. Our teams at Emory Healthcare work daily in the fight to treat and end stroke. Last year, Emory Healthcare treated over 1800 stroke patients at our hospitals, and approximately 300 patients received intensive rehabilitation care post-stroke at the Emory Rehabilitation Hospital – a total surpassing 2,000 patients.

We are passionate about stroke prevention – especially since 80% of strokes are preventable – and have created outreach teams that screen and educate members of the community throughout metro-Atlanta. To date in 2014, our teams have reached over 1,000 community members and counting.

Recognizing stroke early and getting immediate medical attention is key in reversing potential damage to your brain. Remember to ACT F.A.S.T. if you suspect that you or someone else around you is experiencing a stroke. If you notice the following signs, you should call 911 immediately:

F: Facial droop; uneven smile

A: Arm numbness or weakness

S: Slurred speech, difficulty speaking or understanding

T: Time to call 911 and get to the nearest stroke center immediately

In line with World Stroke Day, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently signed a proclamation declaring October 29th Georgia Stroke Awareness Day, in which he encourages all citizens to seek education on adequate prevention and recognition of signs/symptoms of stroke.

As we promote stroke prevention and timely recognition in our communities, we remind you that you have the power to end stroke – and Emory is here to help. We invite you to visit our website for further information on stroke prevention, recognition and treatment.

Lastly, we would like to thank all the teams playing a role in our efforts, and share with them this campaign as we continue our fight to end stroke.

Related Resources

Stroke Risk & Prevention in Women

Ladies Night OutCurrent estimates suggest that 6.8 million Americans are living after having had a stroke, approximately 3.8 million of whom are women. Stroke is also the third leading cause of death among women and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Although much of the difference in stroke prevalence and burden is because women, on average, live longer than men, some of it is related to factors unique to or more common in women.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA) recently assembled a panel of experts that published the first gender-specific AHA/ASA guidelines for stroke prevention in women. Stroke is a brain injury caused by a cessation of blood flow in the brain. This interruption can be caused by either a blocked blood vessel or a ruptured blood vessel. Because the brain is not receiving the oxygen and nutrients that it normally obtains from blood flow, the brain starts to die.

“How our society adapts to the anticipated increase in stroke prevalence in women is vitally important. Now more than ever, it is critical to identify women at higher risk for stroke and initiate the appropriate prevention strategies,” Cheryl Bushnell, MD, MHS, FACC, chair of the guideline writing group, and colleagues wrote in a statement.

It is important to emphasize stroke in women across the lifespan and to raise awareness about the unique risks of women compared with men. “These include pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia, hormonal contraception and hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms. We also emphasize that there are risk factors that are more common in women than in men, such as migraines with aura, hypertension and atrial fibrillation.”

Stroke Prevention

There is no better way to treat stroke than to prevent it. Up to 80% of strokes may be preventable, with proper attention to lifestyle and medical risk factors.

Uncontrollable stroke risk factors include being over age 55, being African-American, having diabetes and having a family history of stroke. People falling into any of these categories tend to have a higher risk for stroke.

Some controllable risk factors for stroke are medical disorders that may be treated with medication or surgery. These conditions include high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, a personal history of stroke, and atrial fibrillation – an irregular heartbeat which allows blood to pool in the heart and can lead to blood clots. Lifestyle choices that can increase a person’s risk for stroke are smoking, drinking too much alcohol and being overweight.

If you have any of these risk factors for stroke, it is important that you work with a health care provider to learn about medical and lifestyle changes you can make to prevent having a stroke. It’s important to remember that even people with multiple risk factors can do a lot to prevent stroke. Though it won’t guarantee avoiding a stroke, your habits can make a substantial impact on reducing your risk. Some lifestyle changes that your doctor may recommend include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining an ideal weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Managing stress
  • Reducing cholesterol

Ladies Night Out

Dr. Lundberg will be speaking about Women’s Stroke Awareness at the Emory Johns Creek Hospital annual Ladies’ Night Out women’s health and wellness event on October 23, 2014 at 6:50 p.m. The event is free and open to women of all ages.

To learn more about the event, please visit: http://www.emoryjohnscreek.com/events-classes/ladies-night-out.html

About Gina Lundberg

Gina Lundberg, MDGina Price Lundberg, MD, FACC, Emory Women’s Heart Center Clinical Director, is a Preventive Cardiologist with Emory Clinic in East Cobb. Dr. Lundberg is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. She is a National American Heart Association (AHA) spokesperson and has been a Board Member for Atlanta chapter from 2001 till 2007. Dr. Lundberg was the Honoree for American Heart Association’s North Fulton/ Gwinnett County Heart Ball for 2006. In 2009 she was awarded the Women with Heart Award at the Go Red Luncheon for outstanding dedication to the program. She is also a Circle of Red founding member and Cor Vitae member for AHA.

She has been interviewed on the subject of Heart Disease in Women in various media channels including CNN and in USA Today. Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Dr. Lundberg to the Advisory Board for the Department of Women’s Health for the State of Georgia in 2007 till 2011. In 2005, Atlanta Woman Magazine awarded Dr. Lundberg the Top 10 Innovator Award for Medicine. In 2008 Atlanta Woman Magazine named her one of the Top 25 Professional Women to Watch and the only woman in the field of medicine.

Related Links

Emory Women’s Heart Center
Quiz – Are you at Risk for Heart Disease
Did you Know that Stroke is the Third Leading Cause of Death in Women? Learn how to Protect Yourself!
Become aware of the risks, signs and symptoms of stroke

A Victim No Longer

Dick TaylorToday, I write poems in ode form as a hobby. How does this peculiar habit of mine relate to the stroke I suffered September 16, 2013?

I was admitted to Emory University Midtown Hospital on September 16th to undergo a much needed hip replacement surgery. All went well, and I was scheduled for release the following day. But around midnight I was caught unaware by a stroke that affected my entire left side. I spent five more days in the hospital before I was discharged to Emory Rehabilitation Hospital to begin my recovery. I believe strongly that God sent me there.

Can you imagine hip surgery and a disabling stroke occurring on the same day? It goes without saying that coping with both became a daunting challenge for me. And, I was mad at the entire situation.

When I placed pen to paper, I intended the poem to be an upbeat, positive feel good piece with a motivational flavor. The finished product shocked me, because it reflected me in an angry light, more confused and afraid than strong and hopeful; not the outcome I was seeking.

However, upon review, I concluded that my “Ode To A Stroke” was, in the end, truthful and realistic; something fellow stroke survivors could and would embrace. I had finished the poem promoting hope, determination and perseverance; traits representing the challenges faced every day by people with stroke.

Throughout my ordeal the commitment of the nurses, doctors, and staff has been inspirational and healing. The nurturing and training administered by my physical, occupational, recreational and speech therapists over the ensuing months has given me renewed strength. Together, they saved my life…a victim no longer; and they continue their work daily to improve the lives of those afflicted by stroke.

ODE TO A STROKE or A Life Altered
 Dick Taylor, December 26, 2013
I was moving forward at a pace,
In this life called the human race,
With strength and purpose and resolve,
And little thought to how we evolve.

How simple it has been to ambulate,
My legs stride out with a steady gait,
Effortlessly in motion with no command,
To walk, to run, to sit or stand.

My arms reach and carry,
And hug and tote,
And accomplish tasks,
As if by rote.

And, oh! My hands!
They grasp and cling and digitize,
Fingers point, Aha!
As I discover and realize.

How astonishing our bodies,
Intricate machines to behold,
Easily functioning,
Without being told!

Until….that nightmarish instant,
Unforeseen, unexpected, unwarranted, unfair,
When an explosion of cranial havoc,
Renders me motionless and unaware.

I look at my lifeless arm,
I tell my hand to grip, to clasp,
And wonder why it won’t respond,
Nothing works, “my God!” I gasp!

Minutes ago I was hearty and hale,
Now I lie here, wane and pale,
Feeling alone in my solitude,
Facing uncertainty and rectitude.

But….life goes on, I will survive,
I am told to work, I am alive,
Does anyone know how angry I feel,
depressed, in pain, a long time to heal?

My life has been altered,
Run down from behind,
I could not see it coming,
So disabling and unkind.

So…..where do I go from here?
How do I rebuild my whole?
When imbalance and weakness,
And heartache assault my very soul?

God answers these fears directly,
He dispatches people who care,
Angels to push and train and
Encourage me in my physical repair.

Time and patience and persistence,
Offer recovery I am sure,
And Faith that I will mend,
Determined to find my cure!

Takeaways from Dr. Nahab’s “Stroke Awareness Month” Live Chat

StrokeThank you to everyone who joined us for the live web chat hosted by Emory Stroke Center Medical Director, Dr. Fadi Nahab. Dr. Nahab discussed the signs and symptoms of stroke, as well as treatments, recovery options and prevention.

Get more info and see more of Dr. Nahab’s answers by checking out the chat transcript!

Below are just a few of the questions and answers from the Emory Stroke Center’s live chat:

Question: Are there any preventative measures that you recommend to the general population?

Fadi Nahab, MDDr. Nahab: Definitely! First, if you’re actively smoking, it’s very important to stop as soon as possible. Secondly, dietary factors play a major role in our risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Low salt, limited fried food, high dietary fiber, and nuts can have an important effect. Fish that are high in omega-3 fats, such as salmon or tuna, should be consumed at least two times a week because of its beneficial effects. Limiting sugary beverages (specifically soda and sweet tea) also helps reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. A third factor is increasing moderate exercise/activity to at least 20 min. daily. 20 min. represents the smallest amount we should be doing for heart attack and stroke prevention. The last four factors include control of blood pressure to a target of less than 120/80, control of cholesterol to a target of total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dl, blood glucose to a target fasting level less than 100, and a target weight using body mass index (BMI) less than 25. Body mass index can be calculated as your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. A recent study showed that each additional factor you achieve results in an 8% lower risk of stroke.

Question: Do you have advice for preventing hemorrhagic stroke recurrence?

Fadi Nahab, MDDr. Nahab: The best way to prevent a hemorrhagic stroke is to monitor your blood pressure and make sure it’s below 130/80. I often encourage patients to check their blood pressure twice a day, in the morning and evening before meals, sitting down with your arm rested on a table. It’s an important investment to have a blood pressure machine. Without checking your blood pressure, you can miss detecting high blood pressure until it’s too late. For patients who have a hemorrhagic stroke related to a blood vessel problem in the brain, there are very good treatments for reducing the risk of a recurring hemorrhagic stroke. At Emory, we are one of the largest volume hemorrhagic stroke centers in the country and use cutting-edge technology to treat aneurysms and other blood vessel abnormalities.

If you missed this informative chat with Dr. Nahab, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the web transcript. Be sure to visit our website for more information about stroke prevention and treatment at the Emory Stroke Center. If you have any questions for the doctor, do not hesitate to leave a comment in our comments area below.

What is a Mini Stroke?

stroke-fbOn average, one person in the United States dies from a stroke every 4 minutes, and strokes account for 1 out of every 19 deaths each year, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Though not everyone gets a warning before experiencing a stroke, some people experience what is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) – also known as a mini-stroke. The American Stroke Association characterizes it as a warning sign of a stroke, and it should be taken very seriously.

TIA is caused by a blood clot in an artery in or leading to the brain, however the blockage it creates is only temporary (transient). Symptoms caused by a TIA may last up to 24 hours, but usually resolve within 1 to 2 hours. Fortunately, it usually does not cause permanent damage to the brain. Though most strokes are not preceded by a mini-stroke, about a third of the people who suffer TIA experience a stroke within a year’s time. It is suggested that those who experience a transient ischemic attack to treat it as a warning sign, and should act to keep a permanent, more dangerous stroke from occurring.

Though clots associated with TIA dissolve quickly, there is no way of knowing how long it could take. Whenever you have any stroke symptoms, dial 911 immediately so you can get evaluated in an emergency room. Time is of the essence, or put another way, time equals brain.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs and symptoms of a stroke:

Face drooping
Arm weakness
Speech difficulty
Time to call 911

Additional signs of a stroke can include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden severe headache with no known causes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or lack of balance and coordination

If you experience TIA after having a stroke, go to the emergency room immediately, since it could mean that something in your treatment plan is not working as it should.

Related Resources

May is National Stroke Awareness Month!

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke, according to the National Stroke Association.

In recognition of May as National Stroke Awareness Month, Emory Healthcare encourages you to learn the signs, symptoms and risk factors for stroke. Mark your calendar for the following events:


Stroke Awareness

Go Red for Women Event at Emory University Hospital Midtown

  • Where:

Emory University Hospital Midtown
Medical Office Tower Lobby
550 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, Georgia

  • When: Friday, May 9 ; 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • What: Come out and enjoy this fun, educational event, where you can meet the Emory Women’s Heart Center physicians and staff, learn how to prevent heart disease and find out if you are at risk for heart disease. The event will also feature nutrition consultations, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure screenings for attendees.

Also, join us at 12 p.m. in the Glenn Auditorium for a short educational talk on how to prevent heart disease by Emory Women’s Heart Center cardiologist Alexis Cutchins, MD.
 
Nurses who attend the talk will be offered 0.5 Contact Hours. Refreshments will be served.


Stroke Awareness Fair at Emory University Hospital

  • Where:

Emory University Hospital
1364 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
E Wing Auditorium and Classroom Lobby, 2nd Floor

  • When: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 ; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • What: Come out to learn signs and symptoms of stroke, understand how to manage blood pressure, exercise properly and maintain a healthy diet. You can talk to experts about stroke prevention and response for suspected stroke. Also, plan to participate in two community stroke lectures, beginning at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
  • Who: Emory employees, patients, families and you!

Stroke Awareness Fair at Emory University Hospital Midtown

  • Where:

Emory University Hospital Midtown
Medical Office Tower Lobby
550 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, Georgia

  • When: Thursday, May 15, 2014; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • What: Join us to learn the signs and symptoms of stroke, ask a neurologist about stroke care, speak to a pharmacist, get your BMI checked and learn about stroke rehabilitation programs.
  • Who: Emory employees, patients, families and you!

Stroke Awareness at Emory Johns Creek Hospital

  • Where:

Emory Johns Creek Hospital
6325 Hospital Parkway
Johns Creek, GA

Related Resources:

How Much Do You Really Know About Strokes?

Stroke Awareness ChatMay is National Stroke Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to brush up on your knowledge of the risks, signs and symptoms associated with stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the United States dies of a stroke every four minutes. Fortunately, as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Emory University Hospital is helping lead the way in research efforts that focus on preventing the risk factors that can lead to stroke, as well as new models of stroke care. Emory vascular neurologist Fadi Nahab, MD will be on hand to answer questions such as:

  • What puts someone at risk for a stroke?
  • How can I prevent stroke?
  • How are strokes treated?
  • Why is Emory a great choice for stroke care?

Mitral Valve Disease Chat

Do you know how to recognize stroke symptoms and when to “Act F.A.S.T.“?

Former College Football Player Makes a Comeback after Stroke Recovery

Patient David Jacobs & the Jacobs FamilyAs a defensive tackle on the University of Georgia’s football team, David Jacobs was at the top of his game, physically and mentally. But in November 2001, everything changed.

Jacobs had been feeling strange all week, even missing two football practices – a rarity for a player with his level of devotion. He’d had headaches and felt dizzy and lethargic. He chalked it up to his demanding schedule and dehydration. Hoping to play in the upcoming Ole Miss game, Jacobs headed back to practice, only to take a particularly hard hit that left the right side of his body numb and tingling – hallmark symptoms of stroke. Just minutes later, Jacobs became unconscious and unresponsive in the training room.

Jacobs was rushed to a local Athens hospital, where diagnostic tests revealed that David would need advanced care for a stroke. He was transported by helicopter to Emory University Hospital, Atlanta’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center. David learned that he’d had an occlusion in his vertebral artery, which serves as a major supplier of blood to the brain. A blood clot followed developed, disrupting blood flow to the brain. When the brain doesn’t receive enough blood, a stroke occurs.

“I went from working hard everyday on the field to having a stroke, just like that,” Jacobs recalls.

At one point, the prognosis was grim. While he was unable to talk, eat or walk, David’s family prayed by his bedside that his condition would improve so that he wouldn’t have to undergo risky surgery. Their prayers were answered.

“I remember that bit by bit, we began to see signs that he was starting to improve,” says Desiree Jacobs, David’s wife, who was his girlfriend at the time of his stroke. “If there’s one thing to know about David, it’s that he’s a fighter, not just on the field, but in all areas of his life. Surviving this was no different for him.”

David spent a month in Emory University Hospital’s Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. From there, he moved to Emory’s Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, a multidisciplinary center that provides ongoing care for patients who have undergone a stroke or spinal cord injury, or individuals with neurological damage, musculoskeletal problems, pain, amputations and chronic disease. There, he would spend three months learning to walk, eat and do the basic things that used to come so easily to an athlete of his caliber. His care team consisted of physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists, case managers, dietitians, doctors and nurses, all whom had a hand in David’s recovery.

Looking back, of the many things David had learned, listening to his body has been the most essential.

“My body had been warning me that something wasn’t right,” David says. “It’s important to know the signs of stroke, like a sudden severe headache, trouble speaking and numbness so that you can get treatment right away.”

Now nearly 11 years later, David is married with two young sons and works full time as an account manager in the mortgage industry. Tall and athletic, David certainly looks the part of former football player. But, the role he’s most proud of? Stroke survivor. Learn more about David’s journey in the video below:

Read more about David’s story on espn.com and UGA’s athletics website.

Related Resources: