February 21, 2017

Helping your Loved Ones Circumvent a Second Stroke

Two years ago my mother had a stroke. She wasn’t able to talk, eat or really move at all on her own after this life changing event. Given the changes to her brain and the resulting effect on her body, I knew I would have to encourage her to stay positive and get through it the best she could. Two years later she has come a long way.

Elderly in Brighton

A healthy diet

What you eat is very important to second stroke prevention. We started increasing our colorful fruits and vegetables, ditched foods high in sugar and fat, and replaced our regular grains with whole wheat alternatives (pasta, rice, breads and cereals). We also try to make plant based meals many times a week, because the vegetarian diet is naturally low in unhealthy fats and makes it easier to limit cholesterol.

Exercise does your body good

About a year and a half ago my mother’s left side was still very, very weak. She is doing much better now after almost a year and a half of brisk walks every day for cardio in addition to muscle strengthening using body weight resistance training. Yoga is also very good, and we try to do it as often as we can even if it’s just in our living room in front of YouTube videos.

Identify the cause and make changes

My mother actually had the stroke because she developed a heart condition called Atrial Fibrillation. This means that her heart would sometimes beat irregularly, causing chest tightness and a fluttering feeling in her heart. Unfortunately, she didn’t get this condition checked out in time to prevent the stroke which was caused by blood clots that formed when she had one of the heart episodes. Clots can form because the blood pools up in the upper chambers of the heart. This condition is treatable, and now she is taking blood thinners to prevent blood clots from forming.

It is worth noting that medication can sometimes be as dangerous as it is helpful. One of the medications options my mother could have been prescribed was called Pradaxa, this stuff is a blood thinner (anticoagulant) that has caused many deaths by internal bleeding.

I’m glad she was prescribed a different pill called Warfarin, which has a reversal agent for the internal bleeding that can occur unlike that other option. It’s too bad that so many people have had to suffer, and even more wretched that families didn’t know the high risks involved with the medication. More information on the Pradaxa lawsuits can be found at DrugNews.net.

While it can be an important and lifesaving tool, medication is not sufficient in preventing another stroke or really recovering from the stroke in the first place. I’ve learned so much from my mother’s situation, and it has brought us closer together. The healing process doesn’t happen overnight. Remember to take one day at a time and stay positive!

Madeline Ferdinand is a writer for DrugNews.net. Her main goal is to keep the old youthful and the youthful wise. She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain (in moderation of course).

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