Friday, April 18, 2014

Young Survivors: You may look great AND struggle.

A couple of bits of bad news for younger stroke survivors. First, a look at this article.

My interpretation: Young people who have insomnia are at a much higher risk of stroke. And by much higher I mean more than 8 times the risk. 

That's valuable information. But. There's a not-so-subtle intimation that a lot of young stroke survivors complain about. Namely, that young people are out doing drugs (and other bad things) which keep them awake. 

The second bit of bad news

There's a new article out with a not-so-subtle name "Poor Long-Term Functional Outcome After Stroke Among Adults Aged 18 to 50 Years." Its bottom lines may come as some surprise to clinicians: many young survivors stroke survivors struggle with everyday tasks. 

After 10 years, 1 in 8 patients (12.9%) was not able to function independently. 

When interviewed the author's seem to suggest that, young survivors often don't show severe outward signs of problems related to stroke. For instance, they would struggle much less with walking than older survivor. But that does not mean that these everyday tasks are not problems. One author Frank-Erik de Leeuw, Ph.D., put it this way "Even if patients seem relatively well recovered with respect to motor function, there may still be immense 'invisible' damage that leads to loss of independence." 

I've heard this before from young survivors. People will come up to then say "You look great!" And they think to themselves, "I don't feel great." 

 One interesting note: Almost all the popular press has reported that this article suggests that "one-third" of young stroke survivors are having problems. I've read the article. It's one in eight. I'm not great at math. I'm pretty sure that's not one third.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Falls. Bad.

Here is your challenge: 

In the comments section, write everything that this survivor could do better in order to get up the stairs more safely. 

We all know that falls are bad. 

Falls can kill you. For survivors, falls are especially bad. Stroke affects balance, coordination, strength, and any number of other things that can lead to an increased risk of falls. On top of that, survivors tend to fall towards their affected side. In the affected side tends to be more osteoporotic. So have at it. This is good place to start as anywhere. What is this gentleman doing wrong? How do you do differently? What can you suggest?

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