Your Questions Answered
"Will i live another heart attack if i change my diet and exercise"Sabrina631, Support Network Member
"Changing your lifestyle such as diet and exercise is definitely recommended to help decrease your chances of a heart attack. In regard to diet and exercise, you would definitely want to get cleared by your doctor before you make significant changes. Thankyou for this question. Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"I am 66 years old and had a heart attack on 5/14, went back to work the same afternoon I was discharged (had to). I'm totally exhausted by the time 2p rolls around and I am caregiver for my 89 year old mother. Does this tiredness ever end? Some days I can barely put one foot in front of the other."judecobbs, Support Network Member
"More information is definitely needed but you should definitely follow doctor orders to provide healing after a heart attack, It is recommended that you follow up with your doctor to inform them of your symptoms which also could determine if more testing should be done. Best, Dr. Laytona Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"I currently am wearing a Life Vest after having 6 arteries replaced in December and now 4 of the 6 are already clogged. I am in heart failure and am waiting for a pacemaker/defibrillator put in. The open heart surgery recovery was brutal!!! Will the insertion of the pacemaker/defibrillator cause the same type of recovery as the open heart?"cover402, Support Network Member
"You should expect a gradual recovery and also know that each individual recovery time will vary but it may take up to six to eight weeks before you start to feel better and it could up to six months to feel the benefits of the surgery. You would definitely want to follow all doctors order for the success of the surgery. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Hi. I am a 62 year-old woman. I had a heart attack on 04-03-2018, followed by cardiac arrest. A stint was placed in one of my arteries, then I was revived using CPR and "the paddles" (5 times). A week later, I was sent home. On 04-1-2018, I began to experience pain in my chest muscles (I am sure that this pain is NOT another heart attack). I hurt whenever I use my arms. If I use my arms to "push off" from a chair, or tilt my head back to gargle, those chest muscles really smart! My legs are fine. Last night my husband gave me a massage (back and front). When he touched my sternum, I yelped! In the hospital I was given oxycodone and oxycontin around the clock. But I was sent home without pain medication. Is my problem common? Unusual?"Kaylynn, Support Network Member
"It is definitely common to be discharged on a different medication regimen from the hospital to home. Certain medications are only prescribed for acute pain. If you continue to have pain please speak with your doctor for possible new medications and testing. Thank you, Dr. Laytona Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"I have just been told I have mild cardiomyopathy at 49 percent which the cardiologist at hospital sort of skipped over quick . I’m on aspirin ramipril metoprolol Crestor , I suffer from anxiety and am scared . I get occasional right side pain but don’t I’f it anxiety. I get little skips of heart again maybe anxiety . All I know is I feel doom and gloom as I have had every test known to man . Can a person with cardiomyopathy live for a long time ?"hosiejohn, Support Network Member
"The symptoms that you mention you will definitely need to speak with your provider in case further testing need to be done. Your cardiologist should also provide education regarding your diagnosis because each individual condition varies. With proper treatment, you will be able to live a healthier life. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"how long after initial stroke can nerve pain develop?"Dragonbrat79, Support Network Member
"Nerve pain can begin immediately after a stroke or any anytime in the future. Typically, pain does not begin in the first several days but becomes apparent as recovery occurs. Thank you, Dr. Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"Any advice for legs burning and tiredness had a mini stroke on January 2018"Pink12, Support Network Member
"Cholesterol-lowering medications known as “STATINS” can cause individuals to develop muscle pain and weakness. When your legs are weak, standing can be difficult. Burning is not a typical symptom related to these medications and a cause for this should be sought elsewhere. This should be discussed with your medical team. Thank you, Dr. Joseph Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"Why did my left side go numb? It’s primarily the foot and leg and I walk funny now. Can it be fixed? Have you heard of the stroke reversal medicine?"Rstone2, Support Network Member
"Your left-sided numbness needs further explanation from a healthcare professional. Many possibilities exist that need to be explored through further discussion, examination and testing. The longer the duration from onset until you seek care, the greater the likelihood that the numbness will remain. So, please seek care soon.Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
The only approved medication for stroke reversal is tPA, tissue plasminogen activator. This medication when provider to the correct patient with a window of opportunity reduces the morbidity from ischemic stroke. It works by augmenting natural clot-dissolving properties in our bloodstream returning blood flow, oxygen and nutrients to the region. Thank you, Dr. Joseph Hanna"
"What resources exist for aneurysm survivors who have vascular dementia? How can I find local support groups for caregivers and and survivors, and activities for survivors?"saries99, Support Network Member
"Vascular dementia is the second most common cause for a diffuse loss of cognitive skills after Alzheimer’s disease. The memory aspects of this disability may be amenable to mediations that are available by prescription. Please consult your physician regarding medications that may enhance your memory. Additionally, behavior modification including physical exercise, mental exercise – attempting to learn new skills, dietary and sleep alterations, socialization, optimization of attention, and gaining a sense of life purpose have been shown to improve cognition. Social support networks exist in most major metropolitan areas. Most communities have a stroke and dementia support group that engage both survivors and their families. Ask your care provider and social worker for what may be available locally in your community. Thank you, Dr. Joseph Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"My wife had a stoke January 2018 and I am paying a family member to care for her while I am working. I am using our retirement account to pay for this, it won’t last for long. Is there anyway to get financial help before we go broke?"Tiredone, Support Network Member
"Taking care of a love on who is ill is very expensive. Although each state will vary you could check out the website: www.strokeassociation.org in which the links on that page is for convenience and not an assurance of entities. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Why does my patient seem to have insecurity and trust issues."Huahauahahsh, Support Network Member
"It sounds like you are describing someone with anxiety—a tendency to worry much more than is warranted. There are many factors that can cause anxiety, including certain medical conditions, such as thyroid issues, and some medications. Sometimes, people also develop anxiety when they have had a near-death experience and feel traumatized or when they are living with a life-altering medical condition which could lead to sudden death. I suggest that you have your patient evaluated by a primary care doctor to assess whether he or she is anxious. If so, then we have effective medications and counseling techniques to help decrease worries and increase calm.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"How low does the ef # have to be to be on the transplant list. I'm at a 30. I have 3 different Drs telling me different things"Renegade, Support Network Member
"This is a great question. In a healthy heart, each beat should pump out at least 50 percent of the blood in the left ventricle. The ejection fraction should be between 50 to 75 percent to be able to deliver adequate supply of blood to the body and brain. Depending on your diagnosis and current medical condition the EF could vary for the transplant list. Each individual is different so it is important to discuss with your doctors about why you’re receiving different answers. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"I was diagnosed with heart failure at only 39. Had angiogram, no blockages, they determined it was " idiopathic etiology " my ef was 35, with in 4 weeks out of hospital and meds. Im back to normal function wise. Is this normal that fast? My last ecg stated " left atrial enlargment borderline" thats it.. i hope this can be a good sign.. thanks"Dough28, Support Network Member
"Idiopathic Heart failure means there is no identifiable cause in which is very common. It could be many etiologies for your symptoms in which you report has resolved. Your cardiologist will continue to monitor you and your progress.Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"
"Can my cholesterol go away???"twinpita, Support Network Member
"Cholesterol is a vital substance in your body in which it does help with the formation of your memories and vital for neurological but when your levels become abnormal it could predispose you to heart disease. You could lower your cholesterol through dietary and lifestyle changes alone. You would want to consult with your PCP to coordinate this change and to be monitored for several months to see what is ideal for you.Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"
"I will be 52 this year when I was in my early 30's I was told by my new PCP that I had a heart murmur. After having an Echo done she said it was an innocent murmur and nothing to worry about. But every time I have dental work done I'm given antibiotics as a precaution even though my PCP said it was unnecessary. I have recently been referred to a vascular surgeon and then to a cardiologist due to serve swelling in my legs. The vascular surgeon did a Doppler study of my veins and said it's something that is between my heart and lungs and he referred me to the cardiologist who did an Echo and said my murmur was not so innocent and was a big part of the reason I'm always tired and have a hard time remembering things something. My question is how does a murmur just suddenly show up, and how does a murmur go from "innocent" to "not so innocent" or did whom ever read the echo for my PCP 20 + years ago get it wrong? I know my different diagnoses and medications probably complicate things. Including the diagnosis of fibromyalgia after being in the room with the Rheumatologist for our initial consultation, 10 minutes, and he had it figured out and dismissed what other doctors had diagnosed me with including type 2 diabetes and spondylolysthesis."GSUgal1988, Support Network Member
"Murmurs caused by valve problems or congenital heart problems usually last throughout life, and in some cases, they can worsen over time. Murmurs can occur in a normal heart it happens when blood flows faster through the heart such as when you’re anxious, running a fever of exercising in which an innocent murmur does not cause any symptoms. In the event that symptoms occur when the heart murmur significantly interferes with the heart’s ability to pump blood could be related to many conditions. It is recommended that you follow up with your provider for more information such as for further testing to determine cause and treatment because each case can vary. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"What is exactly is congestive heart failure"Pfletcher490, Support Network Member
"Congestive heart failure is a broad term that describes the heart's inability to effectively or efficiently handle its function. It might be because the strength of the heart is weakened, or it might be because of a congenital defect that leads to over circulation of blood to the lungs. The definition of CHF is easier to explain depending on the heart being discussed. Thank you, Dr. Breinholt"Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
"My daughter is born on 28 th may 2018. on 29 may 2018 she was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. On June 10, 2018 she aspirated twice and admitted in NICU with breathing difficulty. On June 12, 2018 she was diagnosed with two holes in her heart, one asd of 3 mm and PDA of 4 mm. Her pneumonia is still there today on 18 th June 2018 but improving."MJH1979, Support Network Member
"The hypoglycemia and aspiration are unlikely due to the heart. The ASD is small and may never need intervention. Unless it “grows” as she grows and becomes a size that we would consider closing, it would not be done until she is 3-4 years old at the soonest. The PDA could require intervention. Sometimes the measurements can overestimate, but if she has heart chamber enlargement (on the left side) in addition to the PDA, it may need to be closed. It is also possible that the pneumonia is related, but it would require examining her and having more information to know for sure. I hope she has a cardiologist. That would be the most important next step. Thank you for this question, Dr. John Breinholt"Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
"My child has Ostium Secundum ASD of 7-8 mm and Large Perimembranous VSD during his first month of age. Now he is 5 months old and the ASD is 5 mm and Moderate VSD. Can you please suggest wheather any surgery will be needed or it will cure itself."parijat, Support Network Member
"Perimembranous VSDs do not frequently close on their own, particularly if they are moderate to large in size. ASDs can get smaller, and even close. If the ASD is only 5mm at 5 months of age, it is possible it will close, or at least not require surgery (or even catheter based closure). The VSD is more difficult to predict. If the child continues to do well clinically, doesn’t require any medical therapy, is growing and thriving, he can wait. We do watch the aortic valve closely because flow through the defect can influence that valve and cause problems. If it does, surgery will be necessary. Sometimes the defect can be partially closed by valve tissue from the tricuspid valve (from the right ventricle). If that happens (or has already happened), sometimes we can close those defects in the catheterization laboratory, without surgery.Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
The short answer is the ASD may not need anything or could be closed with a device and without surgery. The VSD is more difficult to predict and hard for me to comment without more information. However, if he is doing well, there is time and surgery may not be necessary.
Thank you for this question.
Dr, John Breinholt"
"I had to list the above option, altho I am not sure it is what I have. What I have is a heart valve defect, since birth, but I only found out about it last year. My lower valve does not completely close, so there is regurgitation, i.e., back-flow in that section of my heart, with every beat. It sounds like a small heart murmur via a stethoscope, but only when I am stressed or troubled. My question is what will happen if I ever have a heart attack? I see physicians at my local university campus. I overheard once that my condition should not pose a problem unless I have a heart attack. What problems would present themselves if I ever do have a heart attack? I work on keeping lower cholesterol, but I inherited it from my Mother, and she always took a statin. I am on one but I know it will make no difference, as I have been on them before. What would happen if I did have a heart attack in relation to my valve deformity?"Annie6556, Support Network Member
"Annie 6556 due to the nature of your diagnosis and defect since birth is highly recommended that you discuss these questions with your cardiologist because they will have your health records available. Each case is different and I would want for you to receive the correct information and what pertains specifically for you.Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"
"Any advice on how to both prepare my 3 year old and myself for her open heart surgery?"MK2018, Support Network Member
"I think the best way to help such a young child is for them to see your love and confidence that everything is going to be okay. They will be scared, and it will be difficult to calm that other than to emphasize the good that is going to come from the surgery.Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
Make sure the surgeon answers all of your questions to your satisfaction. There is no way for you not to be nervous, and for that reason, they should be dedicated to making sure you know everything you need to be comfortable. Do not believe for a minute that there is a “dumb question.” There aren’t.
Best, Dr. John Breinholt"
"I always have had great blood pressure, I have also been on the Birth Control pill since the age of 18 took a break from it few times just to be put back on it for female health conditions. I'm 52 turning 53 been off the pill for about 3 months no periods since then. recently got diagnosed with high blood pressure. Doctor put me on Amlodipine Besylate 2.5mg I weigh 112 pounds, My question is do I have to be on this medication for the rest of my life also is there anyway that maybe the birth control might have caused my high blood pressure?"Sadie2, Support Network Member
"There are many causes for hypertension and each individual will vary. It is recommended that you discuss with your doctor more about hypertension in which they will be able to determine what is best for you. Thank you for this question. Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"i am trying as hard as i can to rehab but not much going on.i think i am getting depressed from lack of progress. any thoughts"susan122557, Support Network Member
"Good afternoon, Successful Stroke rehabilitation can depend on several factors such as Physical factors including the severity of the stroke both cognitive and physical effects. Emotional factors such as motivation and mood, and the ability to stick to rehabilitation activities outside of therapy sessions, social factors such as the support you might have with friends and family and the therapeutic factors such as the skill of your stroke rehabilitation team. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"how can I prevent a stroke?"DaleKlein, Support Network Member
"Primary prevention of a stroke occurs by identifying your personal stroke risks and eliminating or minimizing them. Genetics and age cannot be altered. However, high blood pressure control and smoking cessation are pivotal in reducing stroke. Diabetes mellitus should be identified and optimized. A diet low in fat and salt and rich in fruits and vegetables seems to add years to a life. Daily exercise and optimal weight are also recommended.Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
If you have had a stroke, TIA or have certain high-risk conditions such as atrial fibrillation or congestive heart failure medications can be taken daily that reduce your stroke risk. Aspirin reduces the risk of a recurrent stroke by 20%. Other antiplatelet medications can be taken as an alternative to aspirin and have similar benefit. The group of medications known as “STATINS” that lower cholesterol reduces stroke recurrence. If you have atrial fibrillation, anticoagulants such as warfarin may be used to lessen your stroke risk. Newer substitutes for warfarin exist that can be used as an alternative in certain circumstances.
Several surgical procedures have been devised that reduce stroke risk. An operation on a carotid artery when symptomatic and severely narrowed may be offered to reduce stroke. Carotid stenting can also be done to alleviate risk in certain individuals. Cerebral aneurysms when identified can be surgically isolated through either direct and indirect methods to minimize their risk of rupture.
Thank you, Dr. Joseph Hanna"
"I walk on a treadmill 3 to 4 times a week. I am 81 yrs. old. My speed in usually 2.5 and when I start out my pulse is around 65 but after ten minutes or so it spikes up to 159. I don't feel any different but is this ok to continue. I recently had a stress test and although I had to stop before reaching the end the Dr. told me it looked fine. Is it safe to stay on the treadmill when this occurs? It does slowly come back down after a few minutes. I have tried several different treadmills at the gym and it happens on all of them. Other folks have told me that they never experienced this."Antonia8518, Support Network Member
"Your heart rate could definitely increase significantly while exercising it is recommended that you continue to follow up with your Dr. to keep him informed of any new changes. Each individual is different depending on different health conditions. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Hello, After a few months after being released from the hospital and being on Coumaden 2.5 MG Tab (1 @ bedtime); Thursday 2- 5 mg, Lisinopril 5 MG Tab ( 1 tab @ day), Metropolol Succina 100 MG ER Tab, and Furosenide 10 MG Tab, I've noticed I have coffee spasms in the middle of the night and during my waking hours. What is the best cure?"cskysurfer, Support Network Member
"It would be important to discuss the calf spasms with your primary caregiver. The spasms could be due to an electrolyte imbalance from the furosemide. LASIX® (furosemide) is a potent diuretic which can lead to a profound diuresis with water and electrolyte depletion. Discuss the cramps first with your primary caregiver they may want to draw lab to take a look at your electrolytes. Debbie Summers, MSN, AHCNS-BC, CNRN, SCRN, FAHA"Debbie Summers, MSN, AHCNS-BC, CNRN, SCRN, FAHA, Clinical Nurse Specialist Acute Stroke Care
"My husband suffered a lower left lobe brain bleed 5182018, he is improving, however, the Aphasia and confusion are acute. Will his communication and understanding ability improve?"zeigler56, Support Network Member
"Improvement will continue for several years after the stroke. His recovery will be hastened and ultimately better if encouraged to participate in his speech and language therapy. Thank you, Dr. Joseph Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"I wanna know why doctors be so careless sometimes?"79051, Support Network Member
"In the 24 years that I spent as a psychologist working in a primary care office to teach family physicians about behavioral health issues, I found the hundreds of physicians with whom I interacted to be mostly caring, largely competent, and frequently frustrated. The healthcare system in which they have to work—seeing patients in 15-minute intervals that often felt rushed to them—caused them to cut corners by shortening conversations and postponing explorations of certain patients’ complaints until the next medical appointment. I don’t know if that’s what you mean by “careless” or if you are referring to the mistakes they sometimes make. In those rushed sessions, medical mistakes are made—mostly small ones, such as forgetting to write out prescriptions or fill out forms. But in rare instances, larger mistakes occur with the potential to do harm. Of course we need a better, more flexible system in which physicians have the time they need to practice with greater care. Until that day, however, it is essential that patients and the family members who accompany them to medical appointments remain on guard for physicians’ mistakes. I suggest asking questions if you have doubts about the treatment plans, double-checking prescriptions before you leave the office, and calling back afterwards if you still have concerns. Decreasing carelessness is a goal we can all help achieve.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"My wife had a Thalamus Stroke in late January of this year. I have been dealing with her depression, anger and overall lack of motivation. She gets angry over everything that doesn't go right. Turns things into a crisis. Has panic attacks when we are away from home for awhile. Takes out her anger on me for trying to help but moments later will ask for help to do something. How can I deal with the mental issues?"Chris44641, Support Network Member
"Damage to the thalamus--the brain’s hub or relay station for neuronal signals--can cause a wide range of symptoms, including significant mood swings. I recommend asking your wife’s physician to refer her to a neuropsychiatrist (a physician who is double-boarded in neurology and psychiatry and specializes in the behavioral problems stemming from neurological changes) or a psychiatrist with extensive experience working with stroke survivors. A savvy specialist may prescribe antidepressants or other medications for her which may decrease her moodiness and make her much easier to live with.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"Hi - my husband had a "brain stem" stroke 3 years ago. Prior to that, he was a calm man & not easily mad or irritable. About 8-9 months after the stroke, he began to get verbally abusive & it continues to get worse by the day. I never know who, or what, I'm going to see which personality he will be that day. I have depression & anxiety issues that I'm taking meds for, however, his behavior is making it worse for me & thereby increasing his anger/frustration. I really can't stand to be in the same room w/him, & when I am, he frequently spews some verbal tirade. I've tried to talk to his Dr., who put him on an anti-depressant which did no good. His Neurologist gave him a different med in hopes of reducing these episodes. It also is doing no good. I don't know what to do anymore & really really don't want to be around him at all. Can you offer me some idea or info that might help us both? His memory has been significantly affected as well, & I'm concerned he may be in the early stage of Alzhimers (sp?). Thank you for your time & attention, it is much appreciated. Barbara"Barbara55, Support Network Member
"Dear Barbara—It sounds like you are trying your best to help your husband and being thwarted in the process. Do his doctors think that his stroke has changed his personality? (That isn’t generally the case with brainstem strokes.) If so, then you may have to adapt to having a spouse whose moods vary and who has less control over his emotions. If not, then it is likely that he is feeling very frustrated by his physical limitations (often, with brainstem strokes, ataxia or lack of coordination of movements) and then taking those frustrations out of on you. Medications don’t seem to be decreasing his frustrations enough to allow him to treat you with the respect that you are due. I suggest then that you ask his primary care provider for a referral to a marital therapist who has experience working with couples dealing with stroke. That therapist may identify patterns of interaction between you which may be leading him to be verbally abusive toward you. She or he may recommend specific ways that you can change those patterns and consequently have a more harmonious relationship with him. At the same time, please consider reaching out to others for increased support for yourself. A caregiver support group may be immensely helpful.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"My dad has had 3 strokes since the end of November 2017. Should we be concerned about his hallucinations and agitation? It is really hard to sit and watch/listen to his hollering. For a couple of hours he will sit and holler "HELP..... HELP.... HELP...""melmir, Support Network Member
"I am terribly sorry for what you and your father are going through! Hallucinations, agitation and disorientation can be very challenging effects after a stroke and more pronounced in the elderly. There are some medications that may help with these symptoms, and I suggest you speak with your father’s primary care physician and/or neurologist, who may be able to help. Dr. Sunil Sheth"Dr. Sunil Sheth, Vascular Neurologist
"Are heart disease and stroke related to each other? If my child has heart disease, could she have a stroke?"AHA/ASA Katie Bahn, Support Network Member
"In adults, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, hardening of the arteries, and diabetes can play key roles in stroke. However, this is less common in children. Children can have cardiac issues like congenital heart defects or acquired heart disease that can increase the risk of strokes. It is important for families to discuss the underlying cardiac condition and the risk of stroke with their physician.Dr. Nivedita Thakur, Pediatric Neurologist
Dr. Nivedita Thakure"
"Do children have the same stroke symptoms as adults?"AHAASAKatie, Support Network Member
"Strokes in children, especially infants and newborns, can present differently than in adults. The symptoms could be misdiagnosed with more common conditions that mimic a stroke like viral illness, migraines, or epilepsy.Dr. Nivedita Thakur, Pediatric Neurologist
-Change in mental status--Example: extreme sleepiness
-Using one side of the body more than the other
-Focal signs like weakness
-Change in mental status
-Sudden difficulty with speaking or comprehension
-Sudden vision problems
Should your child experience these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately."
"My baby had a stroke in utero. What are the main developmental achievements that I should look for as he grows?"AHA/ASA Katie Bahn, Support Network Member
"Monitoring development will be important, especially milestones that a baby should achieve by a certain age.Dr. Nivedita Thakur, Pediatric Neurologist
Development can be impacted by areas damaged in the brain. Thus the location and extent of injury are important factors. Another important aspect is brain plasticity. Brain plasticity can be seen in babies because the brain is developing and so different parts of the brain or an undamaged area in the same location can take over function. Therefore it is difficult to predict exactly how much difficulty a child will have in the future.
It’s important to follow development closely and get them in therapy to help practice skills they may be struggling with. This will allow the brain to use the pattern of repetition to build pathways that may have been disturbed due to the injury.
Thank you, Dr. Nivedita Thakur"
"What Causes a Pediatric Strokes in children?"AHA/ASA Katie Bahn, Support Network Member
"Strokes in children can be caused by a variety of factors:Dr. Nivedita Thakur, Pediatric Neurologist
Cardiac: Examples--Congenital heart defects or Acquired heart disease
Hematologic: Examples--Sickle cell disease or Clotting disorders
Infection: Examples--Meningitis or Encephalitis
Vascular: Examples--AVM malformation or Moyamoya
Metabolic or Genetic: Examples--Marfan syndrome or MELAS (Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes)
Trauma: Example--head and neck trauma"
"Hi all. My son had a stroke in utero or at birth... he presented with seizures during the first 36 hours of life which were controlled with phenobarbital. He's 7 months now and is doing as great as we could all hope for. Meeting his milestones and more and has no deficits or signs of stroke as of yet. We know that prognosis for this is extremely variable, which is why I'd like to hear if anyone has a similar case/ experience and what the outcome was (in regards to the area of the brain that was affected). His stroke was in his left frontal lobe, I'd say maybe 1/8th of his left side and a small part of white matter in the back of his right side... the neurologist said he is almost borderzone if that helps... I've looked at studies and patients classified as borderzone seemed to have good prognosis... but the studies are all over the map and I don't really know what to conclude at this point other than expect the worst but hope for the best. Any information from patients or parents of children with similar diagnosis would help tremendously."Support Network Member
"Thank you so much for this question. You are correct in the information you have received so far. There are 2 key aspects that we consider. The first is the location and extent of injury. The second aspect is brain plasticity. Brain plasticity can be seen in babies because the brain is developing and so different parts of the brain or undamaged area in the same location can take over function. Thus it is difficult to predict exactly how much difficulty a child will have in the future. Key aspect is following development closely and getting them in therapy to help practice skills they may be struggling with, so that the brain can use the pattern of repetition to build pathways that may have been disturbed due to the injury. I hope this helps you with what to expect in the future."Dr. Nivedita Thakur, Pediatric Neurologist
"Please suggest a site about depression: causes and treatment. I first experienced depression about 20 years ago after surgery on my knee. The surgery went fine but for 6 months afterwards my calf muscles were in intense pain. I saw numerous doctors and physical therapists, but no one gave me a diagnosis. I was given a ton of pain killers. Finally I had a major depressive episode. I was given Paxil. Now after all that time, I am experiencing depression again, this time I believe because of numerous stressful events. My doctor is excellent, but I really want to understand depression. I have had another doctor tell me that people need to make good decisions, that you must simply accept that bad things happen, and then more bad things happen. I did not find this helpful and do not think this is something that someone that is depressed should be told."HappySue, Support Network Member
"In my opinion, major or clinical depression is often a chronic, recurring illness that can be triggered by stressful events, such as significant losses or changes. It is a good idea for you to learn as much as you can about your condition, especially the steps you can take to manage it over time and prevent frequent recurrences. There is lots of information online about depression but not all of it is reliably accurate. I usually refer clients to the Mayo Clinic’s depression section (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007) and the WedMed Depression Center (https://www.webmd.com/depression/default.htm) for a good, basic overview. I would then meet with your doctor again to discuss any specific questions you have about what you’ve read and how they apply to your life.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"I'm a recovering addict with depression, anxiety and chronic pain and weight gain. How do I cope?"Lizzylee, Support Network Member
"It sounds like you are really suffering. Many recovering addicts suffer from depression and anxiety. So do those who have marked chronic pain. When people with depression and anxiety use food to comfort themselves, they then often gain weight. I suggest asking your primary care physician to evaluate you for depression and anxiety. He or she can direct you to appropriate treatments—for example, medication or psychotherapy or both—that are typically helpful and may make a significant difference for you. You will learn new ways of coping other than eating. Your weight may then become more manageable. Good luck!—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"I want to talk about aortic aneurysms. I feel like I’m sitting on a time bomb. I want mine removed now, not later... While I’m healthy enough to fight for life!"Iamdonna, Support Network Member
"It is recommended that you speak with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss the questions that you submitted. Your doctor will have more information to give you. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"how long will I be upset about my grandpa who just died of a heart attack."fjoshua, Support Network Member
"I’m so sorry for your loss. Your grandpa sounds like he meant--and still means-- a great deal to you. Most people underestimate how long they are likely to grieve the death of a closed loved one. In my clinical experience, it is not unusual for someone to suffer significant grief for 1 to 2 years after the death. That’s probably a lot longer than you are hoping for. In general, the intensity of the sadness tends to gradually decrease over time. Even after 2 years, I expect that you will continue to miss your grandpa and feel sad about his absence but you may also be better able to cherish the time you did have with him. I also expect that you will be more involved at that point with the rest of your life. I suggest that you continue to reach out to others who also loved your grandpa to share memories and feelings. That will help with the grieving process.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"I know this is going to sound out of place but I know I need help before my health takes a bigger toll. I have what some call a broken heart my primary physician hasn’t find anything, my endocrinologist have been keeping a close eye on my thyroid, cholesterol and diabetes count the all appear to be under control. I was in a long term relationship with a man that had worked hard for most of his adult life. He participated on several drug interdiction missions in Central and South America before I met him. When we met he was going through Chemo and radiation treatment for prostate cancer and had lost his mom the year before to breast cancer. The relationship was hard at that time but beautiful. The following year he was forced to retired due to other issues that he had plus time in service. About six month later he was cleared by his oncologist and went to Iraq and while there my mom passed away. [He could not be without the adrenaline rush of dangerous jobs, earning good wages, etc...] When mom died had to be the strong rock that everyone lean on shedding the least tears possible to stay strong. This man called me at every opportunity he had to give me the support I needed. After his two tours/contracts in Iraq were over and my dad passing away two years after my mom[same scenario I had to be strong, had to clean up the house that had been emptied since mom died without any support] our relationship seem to had become stronger than ever. He made sure that I was ok even sent me flowers to make my day better. We had plans for our future together. About a year later he went to Afghanistan, this is when my issues started. I read every book that I came across regarding PTSD and other problems that families and love ones have to face when these men and women in the front lines come back. With him being a civilian contractor things are a bit different because the support from the medical community isn’t there as it is for the military. Him being as active as he is and having work undercover for over 20 years showing emotion wasn’t or isn’t easy for him. I was as supportive as humanly possible everything he needed or wanted I would find the way to shipped it same or next day, we even Skyped even when I was at work just to make sure he knew I had his back. After his second tour to Afghanistan our relationship really took a tumble. He became isolated. I had prepared myself for just about anything except for who came back. Slowly, he pushed me away without an explanation or a reason. There hasn’t been a book written that addresses the fact that a love one can actually come home alive but dead to the person he/she is planning to spend the rest of the life with. I tried everything without being to pushy(I didn’t want him to snap as I knew he could have given his background training.) Then to make matters worse I had to have cervical spine surgery two years ago which exacerbated my menopause symptoms. He chose to be gone when I had my surgery and while recovering (which I did as expected 99%)he only visited me once or twice later demanding a relationship that was not possible for me to give to anyone. Ever since that second tour I’ve been experiencing severe “anxiety” attacks. Lately and after I had enough of this stranger visiting and staying with me whenever he felt like, I told him to take the high road. I had mourn the relationship a lot between the time he almost got blown up in Afghanistan along with other instructors from Australia and the time I ended the relationship. It physically hurts a lot not to have answers as of what truly happened that he pushed me away to the point of no return and who or what happened to the people in his nightmares which he called out loud. Today, has been a year since the breakup. I still have anxiety, horrible chest pains, shortness of breath that are becoming more frequent. In addition to all of that my youngest daughter divorced and left her child with her ex in Germany. When I was told my heart literally sank felt like a death of a love one had taken place my world ended. My oldest grandson who is 15 is following the wrong steps and I worry. I have try to cope but it isn’t enough for me to just cope I need more than that. I need the support that my girls cannot give me . They are dealing with their own demons and counting on me to be the strong one for them but it is becoming harder to the point that all my symptoms of anger and dispair are taking a physical shape in the way of chest pain sometimes sharp but lasting no longer than a minute or two, severe anxiety even my coworkers void me because of my anger."M1l0Gros, Support Network Member
"Your story is indeed heart-breaking. It is also quite complicated; I cannot do it justice in a short response. I suggest seeking psychotherapy for yourself to deal with your grief and to better understand the symptoms of PTSD. My hope is also that your therapist would help you begin turning your life toward the future again and perhaps healthier and happier relationships. It will take you a long time to heal. Please be good to yourself and reach out for professional help.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology