Friday, July 26, 2013

One Day at the Subway


A drunken man who smelled of beer sat down on a subway next to a priest.

The man's tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, and a half-empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket. He opened his newspaper and began reading.

After a few minutes the man turned to the priest and asked, "Say Father, what causes arthritis?"

... The priest replies, "My Son, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol, contempt for your fellow man, sleeping around with prostitutes and lack of a bath"

The drunk muttered in response, "Well, I'll be damned”, then returned to his paper.

The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. "I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?"

The drunk answered, "I don't have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope does."

Disclaimer: Edwin PJK did not send us this joke. The  265th Pope has arthritis, particularly in his knees, hips and ankles but he is not the Pope referred to in that newspaper..... really, we don't know if a pope was even mentioned in the report but we just have to be extra careful with so many bigots on the loose....oh, they are of the other denominations....OK, OK...

Five 'Sudden Symptoms' of Stroke

Recognizing these 5 "sudden symptoms" could save a life - even a young life

Stroke is no longer a disease only of the elderly.  Nearly 20 percent of strokes occur in people younger than age 55, and over the past decade, the average age at stroke occurrence has dropped from 71 to 69.

Patrick D. Lyden, MD, chair of Neurology and director of the Stroke Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, advised that quickly recognizing the signs of stroke and seeking immediate medical care from stroke specialists can minimize the effects of the disease or even save a life.

And just as important as knowing the symptoms is the knowledge that regardless of an individual’s age, those symptoms need to be treated as the emergency that they are.

If you see any one of these "Five Sudden, Severe Symptoms," call 911 – regardless of the victim’s age.

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body.

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.

Sudden trouble seeing on one side.

Sudden, severe difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.

Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

It is important to emphasize the words "sudden" and "severe" and the number "one." Any of these symptoms can occur in a mild, fleeting way and not be worrisome, but if any one of them comes on suddenly and is quite severe, it could signal the onset of a stroke, which increasingly is described as a "brain attack," because like a heart attack, a stroke requires immediate action to improve the odds against disability and death.

Time is brain

The National Stroke Association estimates that two-thirds of stroke survivors have some disability.

"Clot-busting" drugs make it possible in some cases to stop a stroke in progress and even reverse damage. But the crucial element is time. If given within three hours of onset, the drugs improve outcomes by about 30 percent.


The above story is based the April 30, 2013 news release Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

High Blood Pressure Patients, Beware

Risk of Stroke, Death Increased for Patients Who Weren't Compliant, study finds.

Blood pressure refers to the force of blood pushing against your artery walls. Over time, elevated blood pressure can cause serious problems.

Antihypertensive (blood pressure-lowering) drug therapy is a major strategy of stroke prevention among hypertensive patients.

Patients who fail to take antihypertensive medicines as directed have a greatly increased risk of suffering a stroke and dying from it compared to those who take their medication correctly, a new study finds.

This population-based study  of 73,527 hypertensive patients in Finland found that patients who did not adhere to their medication had a nearly four-fold increased risk of dying from stroke in the second year after first being prescribed drugs to control their blood pressure, and a three-fold increased risk in the tenth year, compared with adherent patients.

"These results emphasise the importance of hypertensive patients taking their antihypertensive medications correctly in order to minimise their risk of serious complications such as fatal and non-fatal strokes," said study first author Dr. Kimmo Herttua, a senior fellow in the Population Research Unit at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

"Non-adherent patients have a greater risk even 10 years before they suffer a stroke. We have also found that there is a dose-response relationship, and the worse someone is at taking their antihypertensive therapy, the greater their risk," Herttua added.


The above story is based on the news release by European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

The study has been published online July 17 in the European Heart Journal:
Herttua K, Tabák AG, Martikainen P, Vahtera J, Kivimäki M. Adherence to antihypertensive therapy prior to the first presentation of stroke in hypertensive adults: population based study. Eur Heart J, 2013; DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/eht219

You can download the full report HERE 


More information
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about high blood pressure.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Good Night's Sleep Increases the Cardiovascular Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle

DagwoodBumstead, the main character in Chic Young's comic strip Blondie.

A good night's sleep can increase the benefit of exercise, healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption and non-smoking in their protection against cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to results of a large population follow-up study.

Results showed that the combination of the four traditional healthy lifestyle habits was associated with a 57% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (fatal and non-fatal) and a 67% lower risk of fatal events.
But, when "sufficient sleep" (defined as seven or more hours a night) was added to the other four lifestyle factors, the overall protective benefit was even further increased -- and resulted in a 65% lower risk of composite CVD and a 83% lower risk of fatal events.

As an explanation for the results, the investigators note that short sleep duration has been associated with a higher incidence of overweight, obesity and hypertension and with higher levels of blood pressure, total cholesterol, haemoglobin A, and triglycerides, effects which are "consistent with the hypothesis that short sleep duration is directly associated with CVD risk."

The study's principal investigator, Dr Monique Verschuren from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, said that the importance of sufficient sleep "should now be mentioned as an additional way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease." "It is always important to confirm results," she added, "but the evidence is certainly growing that sleep should be added to our list of CVD risk factors."

Dr Verschuren noted that seven hours is the average sleeping time that "is likely to be sufficient for most people."


The above story is based on the July 3, 2013 news release by European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

The study is published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the official journal of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation:

Hoevenaar-Blom M, Spijkerman AMW, Kromhout D, Verschuren WMM. Sufficient sleep duration contributes to lower cardiovascular disease risk in addition to four traditional lifestyle factors: the MORGEN study. Eur J Prevent Cardiol, 2013 DOI: 10.1177/2047487313493057