suffering from a stroke

Understanding Strokes – Stats, Prevention and Treatment

Stroke: Understanding the Statistics

Stroke is not only a common cause of death and disability in America, it is also the leading cause of loss of independence in adults. With 700,000 strokes reported each year, it is not surprising that there are over 4.4 million stroke survivors in the United States. Many of these survivors require intensive stroke rehabilitation. But there is hope for prevention. Altering unhealthy lifestyle habits and controlling medical conditions associated with strokes can drastically lower the risk of having a stroke.

Emergency Stroke Treatment

If more patients sought treatment immediately, stroke might not be the third leading cause of death in the United States. This is because the timing of treatment significantly impacts the amount of disability caused by a stroke. Treatment administered within hours of the onset of a stroke is more likely to limit brain damage caused by tissue death. Unfortunately, however, many people do not seek treatment right away. Instead they choose to delay getting medical attention in hopes that the symptoms will improve on their own. When a stroke is occurring, however, every hour without treatment is likely to mean increased cell death leading to increased disability. This delay between stroke onset and treatment results in unnecessary death and disability.

Stroke Treatment Facilities

Primary Stroke Prevention

Primary stroke prevention focuses on altering lifestyle and controlling medical conditions before a stroke develops. By changing factors that may cause a stroke, primary prevention can drastically reduce the risk of developing the condition. There is an additional benefit: primary stroke prevention strategies not only lower the risk of stroke, but also decrease the chances of developing other illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease.

High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Stroke Prevention

As part of any successful prevention plan, medical conditions that increase stroke risk should be carefully controlled. For instance, blood pressure and cholesterol should be monitored regularly and treated when necessary, since these two factors profoundly affect stroke risk. High blood pressure (hypertension) increases the risk of stroke because the constant pressure weakens arterial walls. In this manner, hypertension  contributes directly to hardening the arteries, or atherosclerosis.

High cholesterol levels related to diet, smoking, or genetic factors also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis through the deposition of cholesterol plaques in the blood vessels. Since hypertension and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) are two common risk factors for stroke, medication and treatment that control high blood pressure or high cholesterol can be used to lower the risk of stroke. Remember: prevention is better than rehabilitation.

More information on high blood pressure, cholesterol, and other medical risk factors for strokes can be found on the Heath Risks page. Specific information on cholesterol levels and high blood pressure can be found on the following websites:

About Hypertension

Stroke Prevention and Lifestyle: Smoking and Diet

Lifestyle changes are usually necessary for effective stroke prevention. For smokers, quitting smoking is the best way to lower the risk of stroke. Quitting smoking will not only lower the risk of stroke, but will also reduce the likelihood of developing other major illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. Other lifestyle modifications, including adopting a healthier diet, increasing exercise, and decreasing alcohol consumption have positive stroke prevention effects as well.

Stroke Rehabilitation and Secondary Stroke Prevention

After a stroke, survivors are often left with severe disabilities that require intensive stroke rehabilitation. Stroke rehabilitation allows stroke survivors to maintain existing abilities, relearn lost skills, and develop strategies for living with stroke damage.

When primary stroke prevention fails, stroke survivors can reduce their risk of future strokes by practicing secondary stroke prevention. Like primary prevention, secondary prevention focuses on managing high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other risk factors. In addition, secondary stroke prevention may include medication or surgery to lower the chance of further strokes.


a nice service dog

How To Get A Service Dog For PTSD Veterans

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common complication that affects people that have been involved in war in one way or another. It is commonly reported among soldiers who have participated in a violent operation at a given time in their career. Some of the people that experience PTSD are known to go through severe episodes of depression, nightmares and social anxiety. For such people coping with daily living routines can be an uphill task and if not closely monitored may have catastrophic results. It is with this in mind that anyone that has been in war or knows someone that was involved in war should know how to get a service dog for PTSD veterans.

Service dogs are basically pet dogs that have been trained to act as assistants to veterans. These dogs are often taken through a series of training routines that are aimed at giving them the ability to detect when an individual is experiencing nightmares and in such a case interrupt sleep. The dogs can also sense when their master is going through depression or anxiety attacks. In the event that the dog senses any of the negative symptoms of PTSD it is able to quickly respond by alerting other people or acting in an appropriate manner to remedy the situation.

Service dogs are an important asset when it comes to honoring war veterans and ensuring that the society as a whole remains safe. It is with this in mind that you need to realize the pets are only available through select government programs and non profit organizations. Obtaining such a dog is limited to people that are actually in need which is why controls are put in place to ascertain the needs of individuals before the dogs are provided. Here are some of the things you should know when thinking of getting such a dog for yourself or a loved one.

Steps on how to get a service dog for PTSD veterans

Do some research – only a few organizations are mandated to provide service dogs which is why you must carry out some research to identify these organizations. Walk into any government office and inquire about programs that provide these pets. Representatives in the office will be able to give guidance on what you can do. They may pull up a few contacts and recommend them to you. There are plenty of online resources that can also be of help when you are looking for these pets. By simply taking advantage of these free resources you will be able to identify local organizations that can provide assistance.

Make contact with selected organization – once you have gone through the list of the organizations or government programs that can assist in acquisition of a service dog, the next step is to make contact and inquire about the requirements. In most cases you will need to prove that you were involved in a war and are an American citizen. You must have a disabling medical condition and that you have been released from all service and reserve obligations. While talking with a representative of the organization be sure to ask any questions that may be on your mind. This will make it possible for you to move on to the next step confidently.

Training and certification – most organizations require that people who get these service dogs are taken through a training and certification program. This program ensures that the individual is equipped with the right skills and knowledge on how to handle the dog. Lack of knowledge and skills on handling the service dog may lead to frustrations and possible conflicts with the dog. Keep in mind that the individual will be depending on the dog for certain issues while the dog will also be depending on the master for issues such as feeding and regular exercise sessions.

Submit an application – if you meet all the requirements stipulated by the particular organization you should go ahead to ask for an application form. Fill out all the details that are required as accurately as possible. Some organizations allow people to submit applications through online portals. Once you have entered all information go through the form to ascertain that everything is correct before submitting the application for review.

Discuss with loved ones and other parties – bringing a dog into your home is a huge responsibility which is why you need to take some time and discuss the matter with your family members. Let them know that you have submitted an application for a service dog and prepare them for a possible acquisition of the pet. If you are living in a rented house it is wise to talk to the owner or management just so you are clear about the rules of owning a pet. Keep in mind that there are certain rental apartments that do not allow tenants to live with pets.

Prepare the home – as your application is being processed you should go ahead and set up the house in such a way that it will be able to accommodate the dog. Purchase any supplies that are required for the dog. These may include shampoo for keeping the dog clean, dog beds, chains and any other supplies that you may deem necessary. It is worth pointing out that you should have your finances planned because you are likely to incur certain costs with regards to dog food and veterinary services.

Receive your service dog – once your application has been reviewed and approved a representative of the organization will get in touch and let you know about the news. You will then be allowed to meet the dog that will be assigned to you and go through various sessions of getting acquainted. The dog will then be turned over to you for a period of six months through which you are likely to be under probation. If you adhere to all the regulations and rules put in place the organization will sign over full ownership of the service dog to you.