I want to touch a moment on Stroke. I recently had a friend who had Parkinson’s Disease and had a Stroke on top of this disease. He subsequently passed away after a few days. Now you’re wondering why I want to discuss this disease and what does it have to do with anything.

Stroke happens when not enough blood flow gets to the brain. This causes areas of the brain to be deprived of oxygen which in turn causes brain cells to these areas to die. There are two main types of stroke as well as what many call “mini-strokes” or TIA’s (transient ischemic attacks). The two main types of stroke are hemorrhagic and ischemic. Hemorrhagic stroke is when a brain aneurysm bursts or a weakened blood vessel leaks. This type of stroke is the least common but is the one that normally will lead to death. The most common type of a stroke is ischemic. This is the type of stroke where a blood vessel leading to the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot. TIA’s are when blood flow to the brain is blocked for a short period of time that causes symptoms which last for less than 24 hours.

Symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness to one side of the body usually an arm, leg, or face; sudden confusion, trouble understanding or speaking; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, unsteadiness, dizziness; and lastly sudden severe headache with no cause. All or some of these should be seen to IMMEDIATELY. A good way of remembering these signs is FAST – F=face: ask the person to smile, does one side droop; A=arms: ask to raise both arms, does one side drift downward; S=speech: ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, is the speech slurred or strange; T=time: if you notice any of these symptoms call 911 immediately.

Risk factors play a role in everything we do today. Risk factors related to stroke may include Atrial fibrillation (A fib), lifestyle (eating habits, smoking habits, exercise), medical (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, A fib, diabetes, circulation problems), and of course those uncontrollable risk factors such as age, family history, gender, etc.

Strokes can affect anyone. And can have long lasting effects. If you or anyone you know that may have a predisposition to strokes, please talk to your physician about what you can do to help decrease your risk.

I lost my friend after his stroke. I know he would have passed eventually from his Parkinson’s, but it was sad, and I am forever grateful for his friendship. I just wish I would have been able to see him before he passed but I will get to see his partner in a few weeks and love on him. The takeaway from this blog is love those around you and know the signs.