Posts Tagged ‘medical topics’

Be Aware of Brain Attack! How to Recognize the Symptoms of a Stroke.

May 11th, 2015


It’s May, which is National Stroke Awareness Month. Because strokes are a serious medical emergency, the health care community often refers to it as a “brain attack,” comparing it in urgency to a heart attack. The statistics from the National Stroke Association vary slightly from those of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), but the bottom line is strokes are a leading cause of death and disability in the United States, and most of them can be prevented.

In its simplest sense, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted. As a result, the cells in that area don’t get the necessary oxygen, glucose and other nutrients normally provided by the blood, and the cells begin to whither and die. This cell death is what causes the disability associated with stroke.

There are two primary types of strokes. Blood flow can be blocked by a blood clot, called an ischemic stroke, or interfered with due to bleeding in the brain, called a hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic strokes are much more common, accounting for about 80 percent of all strokes. Sometimes, blood flow is interrupted very briefly, but the person experiences some stroke-like symptoms. These are called transient ischemic attacks or TIAs.

A big cause of ischemic stroke is atherosclerosis,2 that ugly build-up of fatty plaque deposits on the walls of your arteries. When it builds up in the carotid arteries in your neck, the arteries become narrow and the blood flow to the brain becomes restricted, leading to a TIA or stroke. Hemorrhagic strokes often occur as a result of a ruptured aneurysm (a bulge in a blood vessel) in the brain, but can also result from an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) or from prolonged high blood pressure, the leading risk factor for stroke.

Like many conditions, stroke has both controllable and uncontrollable risk factors. Some of the uncontrollable factors include things like age, gender, race, family history and the presence of arterial abnormalities like aneurysms and AVMs. It’s the controllable risk factors you want to concentrate on, because changing a few behaviors just might help prevent disaster.

The basics of good health apply to stroke prevention, too, so it’s important to manage those controllable risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. To reduce your risk, quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, eat a proper diet and avoid excessive alcohol use. If you have high blood pressure, atherosclerosis or high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes or another chronic disorder, make sure you keep your condition well under control.

Before you go, know the signs of a stroke. And remember, a stroke is an emergency. If you notice the signs of a stroke in someone, don’t hesitate. Call 911 right away. According to the NINDS, the symptoms of a stroke are distinct because they happen quickly.4 Signs of a stroke include the sudden onset of:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause


Here’s My Beard: Ain’t It Weird?

May 8th, 2015

Waiting Room Cover

Not since the days of George Carlin’s famous Hair Poem have beards been so popular. They’re back in fashion again; although, there might be an unfortunate aspect to facial hair that the medical community is acknowledging in a rather public manner.

According to recent news reports, beard swab tests in New Mexico revealed that the subjects’ facial hair held a host of bacteria more commonly associated with urinary tract infections or rest rooms.

“I’m usually not that surprised; I was surprised by this,” notes Quest Diagnostics microbiologist John Golobic. “These are enterics, the kinds of things that you’d find in feces. It certainly shows a degree of uncleanliness that is somewhat disturbing.”

Not surprisingly, a face full of hair is simply capable of holding onto all sorts of bacteria longer than a face that is clean-shaven on a daily basis. Studies by the International Foundation for Dermatology and the journal Anaesthesia have documented problems with the spread of staphylococcus. Folliculitis, or infection of hair follicles, is common among bearded men.

However, there’s no need for panic. In spite of numerous studies showing that facial hair traps dirt and germs more easily, men can still enjoy their furry faces as long as they maintain excellent hygiene. Keeping a beard neatly trimmed, washing it regularly, and applying conditioner can all keep cleanliness at a fairly healthy level.

Golobic recommends a thorough beard scrubbing, as well as frequent hand washing, and adds, “Try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible.”

So before you kiss that bearded dude, you might want to run him through a hot shower.

Welcome to The Waiting Room!

May 4th, 2015

Welcome to “The Waiting Room,” a blog presented by Florida Health Care News to offer knowledge and insight into various medical subjects. In this room, you will meet people from all walks of life who will share their stories, struggles and insight with you.

This blog will share information on medical-related topics and will be written by various individuals, including Florida Health Care News staff and guest bloggers from our clientele of medical professionals.

Our goal is to provide inspiration, support and encouragement on the latest developments, research and technologies in the health care industry.

We will also, from time to time, share our personal medical stories in an effort to connect with you, our readers. Seeking commonalities with one another makes us feel comfortable with each other. We want to share our own experiences and ask you to also share yours by interacting with us in our comments section!

So, stop in, take a seat and happy reading!

A few of our bloggers:

Judy Wade Headshot

Judy Wade is the Editorial Manager for Florida Health Care News. A graduate of the University of South Florida, she has over 25 years of experience as a writer and editor for both print and digital news in the Tampa Bay area. She joined Florida Health Care News in 2012.

Patti DiPanfilo Headshot

Patti DiPanfilo has been a health care writer and editor for close to 25 years. She is a graduate of Gannon University In Erie, Pa, and is experienced in both marketing and educational writing. She joined Florida Health Care News in 2013.


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