Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Staying Alive Through Strokes

One of the problems that I have been dealing with lately is strokes. TIAs, to be more specific. "A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a brief period of time. A person will have stroke-like symptoms for up to 24 hours, but in most cases for 1 - 2 hours.

A TIA is felt to be a warning sign that a true stroke may happen in the future if something is not done to prevent it."

This quote came from the following link at the USA's Public Library of Medicine:

I have already had one regular stroke that I am sure of, so that probably increases my chances of having a regular stroke as well as the TIAs.

I have not just had a few TIAs, I have had swarms of them. There have been more than one a day at times. During such times I have had one or more strokes as day for as long as a week straight, as well.

I am not going to the hospital when I have a TIA because I can't afford to. I know a lot of other people are in the same situation. I am going to share what I do that I believe has kept me functioning in spite of the mini-strokes and is warding off another major stroke.
If you have any choice and can go to the hospital, I think you should do so.

I am posting about what I do that I believe is helping me survive strokes and prevent a major stroke because you can use it during a medical emergency when you can not get medical care.

The first thing to do it to learn the signs that mean you are having a stroke. 

"The symptoms of TIA are the same as the symptoms of a stroke, and include sudden:

    Abnormal feeling of movement (vertigo) or dizziness
    Change in alertness (sleepiness, less responsive, unconscious, or in a coma)
    Changes in feeling, including touch, pain, temperature, pressure, hearing, and taste
    Confusion or loss of memory
    Difficulty swallowing
    Difficulty writing or reading
    Drooping of the face
    Inability to recognize objects or people
    Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
    Lack of coordination and balance, clumsiness, or trouble walking
    Loss of vision in one or both eyes
    Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
    Personality, mood, or emotional changes
    Trouble saying or understanding words
    Weakness on one side of the body"
This quote came from the same site. 

The time that I had the regular stroke, I first became aware of it when I drank water. The water did not stay in my mouth. It ran out of one side. As soon as I realized that meant I was having a stroke, I went to the bathroom to do the smile test. The ways of telling that you may be having a stroke follow:

n the event of a possible stroke, use FAST to help remember warning signs.

    Face. Does the face droop on one side trying to smile?
    Arms. Is one arm lower when trying to raise both arms?
    Speech. Can a simple sentence be repeated? Is speech slurred or strange?
    Time. During a stroke every minute counts. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately

The above came from the Mayo Clinic site. It beats me why they left out something that seems important to me. It is on the last one, Time. Emergency personnel also need to know the time that symptoms started. You need to write down the time as soon as any symptoms are noticed and give that time to the emergency hospital staff. There is a medicine that can be given to stop strokes from doing permanent damage. The medicine can only be given within a time limit, so the emergency staff need to know how long ago the stroke started.

You need to learn the whole list of stroke symptoms, because some people don't have the more common ones. Numbness in my lips is the first thing that tells me I might be having a stroke. As soon as I feel anything like numbness in my lips, I immediately go into the bathroom and look in the mirror and smile. If I am having a stroke, the left side of my face does not work as well for smiling.

I also do the arm test. You raise both arms slowly in front of you and see if they rise evenly. Raising your arms from the sides also is a good idea.It is easier to do this if you use a mirror, since you can see both arms at the same time this way.
If I flunk the smile test or arm test, I get out a can of pineappe and a mug. I get pop-top cans of pineapple, so don't need a can opener.

I chew and swallow two baby aspirins with a lot of water before I open the pineapple. Once the pineapple is open, I pour off the juice into the mug and drink it. I use sliced pineapple because it is easier for me to eat fast, especially without a spoon handy.
The reasons for the above are that my doctor has me taking 4 chewable baby aspirins a day, two in the morning and two in the evening. They are chewable because chewable ones get into your system much faster than swallowing a regular aspirin whole.

The extra water is because the blood thinner, aspirin, needs something to thin my blood with. 

The pineapple is because pineapple stops brain inflammation. My particular problem with TIAs most likely comes from having small hemorrhages in my brain, so I think the pineapple can stop the hemorrhage and the inflammation that goes with it.

I hope that you will get medical attention if you are able to do so. If you cannot, then my stroke alert regimen may help you also. I am the only one I know of who does this so far, so we don't know if it will work for you also.

I have already taken care of any risk factors for cholesterol and stroke that are possible to change. If you have risk factors for stroke, you would do well to change those you can.

The link below is to a video on strokes.                                 


I think that anyone who is at risk for stroke or heart attack should drink extra water daily to help keep your blood moving along through your body. The rule of thumb I like for calculating how much water to drink, is to figure your weight in pounds and then take half of that number, and drink that many ounces of water daily. I already posted on this and the post has links to convert metrics to ounces, in case you need it.

I already mentioned the online brain training classes available and that I use one of them. I do the brain exercises almost daily. I believe that has kept my brain working in spite of this onslaught of swarms of strokes. If you had a stroke or have one, you might want to consider using one of the brain training sites also.

An additional advantage of using the brain training sites is that they can give you a normal baseline to make it easier to tell how a stroke has affected you. That makes it easier to know what areas of your brain need a workout.

I hope that this information will give you something to help yourself if you have a stroke during an emergency when you can not get medical care and even better, prevent a stroke from happening.

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