Posts Tagged ‘online chat’

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.

 

 

 

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.

Dr. Hart to Host Online Chat on Getting Motivated to Exercise

Dr. Chris HartExercise provides numerous benefits—from reducing cardiovascular disease to fighting depression. While we all know we should exercise regularly, the trick is working up the motivation to start exercising. Overcoming couch-potato inertia can be difficult particularly during the dreary winter months and especially after most of us have spent the holidays celebrating with family, friends—and a lot of comfort food.

Join Christopher J. Hart, MD, Chief of Staff at Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Medical Director of Emory Johns Creek’s Atlanta Bariatric Center, on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 from noon to 1 p.m. as he provides tips and guidance to help you get moving.

Exercise Motivation Chat Sign Up

 

Whether you are simply working toward a healthier lifestyle in the New Year, or you are trying to lose weight for a surgery, Dr. Hart can address issues and questions such as:

  • I really want to start exercising but I can’t seem to work it into my schedule.
  • What if I don’t like to exercise?
  • I can’t carve out an entire hour to exercise. What are my options?
  • What if I can’t afford a gym membership?
  • I’m exhausted all the time, and just the thought of exercising wears me out. How do I get over that mental hurdle?
  • I’ve tried exercising before, but I can’t stick with it. What can I do to stay motivated?

If you’re looking for a good way to get motivated in the New Year, join Dr. Hart for what’s sure to be a great online chat!

Uterine Fibroid Embolization: a Non-Surgical Option for Uterine Fibroids

 

Uterine Fibroid Embolization Web ChatMany women who have uterine fibroids go through their days with no noticeable symptoms. They may even be unaware they have fibroids at all. However, for a small percentage, daily life can be significantly impacted by symptoms.

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that occur in the wall of the uterus. They may be as small as a pea or as large as a cantaloupe. They can cause a host of disruptive symptoms: unusually heavy or long menstrual periods, pressure on the bladder leading to frequent trips to the bathroom, bloating, pain during sexual intercourse and pain in the pelvis, legs, or lower back. Uterine fibroids are common and affect 20% to 40% of women 20 years or older and occur in half of African American women. So far, doctors have been unable to pinpoint why fibroids are more common in African Americans or why women develop them at all. What we do know is that heredity and obesity are risk factors and that hormone levels play a role.

Traditionally, treatment for women with problematic uterine fibroids has been surgical— hysterectomy or myomectomy (surgical removal of the fibroids after a uterine evaluation from a gynecologist). In fact, unwanted fibroid symptoms trigger approximately 200,000 hysterectomies each year.

For close to 20 years, interventional radiologists, myself included, have used a nonsurgical alternative to treat women who suffer with uterine fibroids. This minimally invasive procedure is called embolization.  The technique itself is not new, but its application to fibroids is.  For more than three decades, physicians have used embolization to treat pelvic bleeding due to other causes (trauma, tumors, surgical complications).  Embolization has proven to be an effective means to shrink uterine fibroids and alleviate the symptoms they cause.

Throughout my years of practice, most women who have come to me seeking information on uterine fibroid embolization have come on their own looking for an alternative to surgery. However, most women who are offered a hysterectomy do not know that there is less invasive solution.

In fact, compared to the surgical options, embolization results in fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and a far quicker recovery time.  It has an 85% to 92% success rate compared with myomectomy — 10% to 30% of myomectomy patients develop fibroids again. Long term data now shows that about 75% of women who have uterine fibroid embolization report ongoing satisfaction and continuous symptomatic relief for 5-7 years following the procedure.  In fact, most women I treat report a significant improvement in their symptoms at their first post procedure check-up.

An embolization is performed through a small puncture in a groin artery. Dye is injected into the artery to identify which blood vessels supply the uterus and fibroids. The interventional radiologist then guides a wire and catheter into the identified vessels and injects small particles that block the blood supply to the fibroids. The fibroids and the uterus shrink approximately 50-60% in the first year. Heavy periods usually take a few cycles to lessen. The procedure takes approximately an hour followed by a day’s stay in the hospital for intravenous pain medication. Patients can usually resume normal activity after a week.

If you have additional questions about uterine fibroid embolization, please join Roger Williams, DO, and me as we host a free live web chat on the topic of UFE on June 13, 2012 (12:30 p.m. EST). Bring your questions and get ready for a great discussion!

Dr. Gail Peters

About the Author
Gail Peters, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Radiology at Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown. Dr. Peters’ specialties are in Interventional Radiology, Pediatric Radiology with clinical interests in Fibroid Embolization.

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