Your Questions Answered
"My son diagnosed HCM with Non Obstructive type in June 2017 when he was 7 years old. His Septum is 13mm when he was diagnosed. The last screen he had in December 2017 indicates there is no change for the thickness. We did gene test for our other children, and just found out his siblings (6 years old boy and 1 year girl) have the same HCM mutation as their brother. But they don't have the symptom and clear from HCM for now. This is such a shock news for myself and my husband. I did the gene test last week to find out if I am the carrier. Andrew’s cardiologist said either me or my husband would be the carrier. The good news is both of us are asymptomatic and no family history of sudden cardiac arrest at an earlier age either my husband or my side of family. This disease's prognoses uncertainty is my big fear."lindi492, Support Network Member
"The most important thing to do at this time is establish a relationship with a cardiologist for all gene affected family members. They will require lifelong follow-up, to be able to identify changes, if any, at an early stage. It is the best way to counter the uncertainty. The cardiologist should be one that specializes in cardiomyopathies, and even better, if they specialize in cardiac genetics. These people are out there and have the knowledge and experience to help them and inform them.Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
Thank you, Dr. John Breinholt"
"I found out a year ago, at 31 yo, that I have a right-sided aortic arch with aberrant left subclavian and vascular ring. There is not much information on this on the web, and my primary doctor does not seem at all concerned. I have had a lifetime of both respiratory and gastrointestinal issues, that have been treated in a number of ways, unsuccessfully, and I feel as though they may be related to the defect. Should I seek other advice/see a cardiologist, or am I just being paranoid? Is this defect hereditary? What s/s should I watch for that indicate a problem? I am feeling very overwhelmed with this. Any information or resources you can provide are greatly appreciated!!"troxlerk, Support Network Member
"Thank you for this question. It is my recommendation that you see a cardiologist. It could be related to some of the health issues you have faced. At the very least, you should see an adult congenital heart disease cardiologist. They will be better at knowing how to manage this.Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
Thank you, Dr. John Breinholt"
"Dr. Doc I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure a few years ago. I am 67 and have had a very busy and active lifestyle. I now have a bad left leg and the doctor wants to do a knee replacement. I went to another doctor and he said I could not have a knee replacement. I also have some ruptured discs at 6 & 7 there very arthritic. I had 4 & 5 replaced several years ago. I am very depressed and dont know which ends up. Could you please help me."Joeychloe2, Support Network Member
"Due to the nature of Congestive heart failure surgery might not be the best option due to potential risks. A major surgery like a knee replacement may also involve some blood loss, as well as shifting of fluid into and out of the part of the body affected by the operation Both can stress the entire cardiovascular system. This added stress can boost risk of complications both during and after surgery. It is recommended that you follow up with your provider to find out other options available other than surgery and discuss the symptoms of depression for possible other treatments. Thankyou, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"I know there is no clear answer. I have researched everywhere I know to research. My son will be eleven in January. We found out last year at this time, he has an anomalous right coronary artery from the left cusp with interarterial course. We have been to three cardiologist. This was an incidental finding. Colin, was having sharp pains in his chest that lasted for less than a second. We mentioned this to his primary doctor during a physical. He had complained of this shooting pain for several years. We dismissed it as growing pains. Or acid reflux. Well, an EKG showed some abnormalities. We went in to a cardiologist. Echo showed the RCA anomaly. All cardiologist agree his pain was not from this condition. Colin has been a star athlete in three sports since he was four. He has never labored or complained during exercise. Seriously the kid is an amazing athlete. He lives for sports. All cardiologist told us, he could continue sports with yearly stress test. His initial stress test showed no eschemia. All was normal. But as a parent, being explained the risk, it has been extremely hard. My anxiety will not allow me to watch him play, for fear he is going to drop dead at any time. The condition is rare, so how does anyone really know? How are the cardiologist so sure that his pain was not caused from this? I can't take what he loves away from him. But at the same time it is killing me. I have purchased an AED and I am CPR certified. But imagine if anything happens, how to keep composure to use these things correctly. When it is your child, you love so much. I can't take people's word. It has been the hardest thing in my life. Dr. Herlong in Charlotte explained it best. It is a curse and a blessing knowing. With other things there is a clear cut answer, clear cut conclusion. Not with this. It is basically a 50/50 chance. Colin is in he data base, I was happy to possibly help others with the same affliction, both the children, and the parents. There are no words to deceive how much I love my sons. I just want comfort and answers. Unfortunately I don't think that is possible."Rsvance78, Support Network Member
"The only solution for relieve the anxiety is to restrict the activities that increase his risk. There is no question that the AED purchase and CPR training are very valuable and could save his life should an event occur, but there is no guarantee, and it is possible that colleges or any league would restrict him from playing if they know (and it is not correct to conceal that).Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
The choice to play (either from the parents or the child – if of appropriate age) is an assumption of the risk attendant to the disease. The hallmark of this disease is it is asymptomatic until an event occurs. The negative stress test may provide some reassurance but not to the degree they may be assuming, and the absence of symptoms should not be misinterpreted as everything is okay. Moreover, as he grows, changes in muscle mass, etc. could change the situation sufficient to become a problem. It doesn’t seem fair, and probably isn’t. Even the choice of surgery is controversial, and I am not sure if that has been discussed. It is an option, but without really understanding the risk (which we don’t completely know), it is hard to know if the risk you introduce from surgery is lower than the risk of not.
I would love to provide comfort, but this mom’s concern is reasonable, and perhaps suggestive of how to proceed.
(Sorry, not the reassurance I’m sure everyone wants).
Thank you, Dr. John Breinholt"
"I am a 23 year old female. I had my device implanted in 2015, I was told about 6 months after one of my leads had a malfunction, and they didn't do anything about it, he stated that I already have scar tissue on my heart and quite a bit he didn't want to cause more. I recently moved and they want to replace it. How long is the healing process? And what causes so much scar tissue on the heart at a young age?"Sherrodta, Support Network Member
"My recommendation is to find an electrophysiologist with whom you are comfortable. Given your age, I am wondering if you have a congenital heart disease, or if you were diagnosed as a child. If so, a pediatric cardiologist will be prepared for these challenges. They can better discuss healing and scarring.Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
Thank you, Dr. Breinholt"
"It will be 2 years on March 9th,2018, since I had my Ischemic Stroke. I thought that I would be " back to normal", but still have problems with vocal cords, right hand and right foot. Is this normal?"msveeta, Support Network Member
"Gains can happen quickly or over time. The most rapid recovery usually occurs during the first three to four months after a stroke, but some stroke survivors continue to recover well into the first and second-year post-stroke.Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C,
Consider seeking assistance from a physical or occupational therapist
Consult your Primary Care Provider to discuss treatment options.
Thank you, Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C"
"I still have another Anurysm behind my left eye. What are the chances of another stroke."thefairangel, Support Network Member
"Survivors who have had one stroke are at high risk of having another one if the treatment recommendations are not followed. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet, exercising (taking walks is great exercise), takes medications as prescribed, and have regular visits with your physician to help prevent a second stroke.Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C,
Thank you, Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN,FNP-C"
"My dad just had a right side brain bleed stroke 3 days ago. He can not move his left side and the left side face has dropped. He knows all of his family and friends. He tells jokes like he always did. He passed the swallow test and is eating good. His CT scans have not changed so that's good. He isn't sleeping much. But what breaks my heart the most is. He is seeing things that aren't there. He sometimes thinks he is at home and thinks he can get up and walk. But he also knows he is in the hospital. Will his mind heal and will all of this pass? I know he may not get full mobility back. But I hate that his mind is playing tricks on him. Any info will help. I'm having a hard time seeing my dad this way!"Saddness, Support Network Member
"Many factors influence recovery. Recovery depends on many different factors: where in the brain the stroke occurred, how much of the brain was affected, the patient’s motivation, caregiver support, the quantity and quality of rehabilitation, and how healthy the survivor was before the stroke. Because every stroke and stroke survivor is unique, avoid comparisons.Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C,
Gains can happen quickly or over time. The most rapid recovery usually occurs during the first three to four months after a stroke, but some stroke survivors continue to recover well into the first and second-year post-stroke.
Thank you, Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C"
"Is there anything to help build new pathways to restore my peripheral vision or technology to help me be able to drive without it?"SandyHinesly, Support Network Member
"Vision rehab is a team effort in which you will work closely with your ophthalmologist to learn about different techniques that could possibly help with your peripheral vision in which every individual situation is different. Compensation adaptation may be your only option since visual field deficit might have a permanent impairment but further testing should be done by your provider.Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"
"What kind of food should I eat after the stroke? Olso, what kind of starch food should or should not eat. Your answer should be greatly appreciated, Thank, Flor Cordova"florcordo, Support Network Member
"This is a good question. In regard to foods after a stroke, it is suggested that you plan your larger meal at a time you have more energy. For snacks, keep bags of cut fruit, veggies for quick healthy meals. Always try soft foods such as scrambled eggs, yogurt, soup, cereals and cooked whole grain. You would also want to include nutrient-dense starches like quinoa, sweet potatoes and legumes.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
"I'm not entirely sure what to log this under, but, I've been diagnosed with Autonomic Neuropathy (non-diabetic). I was diagnosed at 31, have had multiple arrhythmias, and feel at a loss because I am unable to find doctors who are very knowledgeable in this area. Why do you think it's so difficult to find a Cardiologist who is well versed in this, especially since autonomic things so affect the heart/blood pressure?"tmilburn9, Support Network Member
"Autonomic neuropathies are a collection of syndromes and diseases affecting the autonomic neurons, either parasympathetic or sympathetic, or both. This may be why you are having such a difficult time finding a specialist.Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C,
The autonomic nervous system modulates numerous body functions; therefore, autonomic dysfunction may manifest with numerous clinical phenotypes and various laboratory and neurophysiologic abnormalities.
Thank you, Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C"
"I have Diabetes and now have Diastolic Dysfunction. Is that a condition before heart failure or is it heart failure?"PKSevers, Support Network Member
"Diastolic dysfunction is when the diastole part of the heart is functioning abnormally. The ventricles do not properly relax and become stiff meaning they are not able to fill with blood. This leads to extra pressure and fluid building up in the vessels of the lungs also known as pulmonary congestion or systemic congestion. Diastolic dysfunction is Heart Failure with preserved ejection fraction.Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
Thank you for this great question,
Dr. Latonya Law"
"My dad has chf and they were going to put a stent in him but came to realized his kidney is at a stage 3 failure and doing so might cause him to go into dialysis. His ejection fraction is 10-15%. Is their any way he can recover and eventually get a stent put in. He is 80 years old and also diabetic. They tell us hospice is the best way for him. Please help me as I don't want to give up on him but I don't want to have to lug him all over for doctors if there won't be results."Nikki850, Support Network Member
"Thank you for this question.Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
A normal heart’s ejection fraction is between 50% and 70% which means anything lower would be considered “borderline” to severe heart failure. In regard to your dad; the levels you indicate are significant low in which I would recommend that you speak further with the provider for possibly other treatments/options that could give the best life for him with the chronic illnesses.
Dr. Latonya Law"
"I am a Vietnam veteran with congestive heart failure her and ischemic heart condition and they said there is nothing that they can do for myself being that I am legally blind I can't they said they won't put a pump in because I can't see to take care of it because I live by myself"ET1948, Support Network Member
"With Congestive heart failure and ischemic heart condition, surgery options could be very limited due to the severity and possible damages to the heart. It is recommended that you continue to follow up with your cardiologist for further recommendations because each individual’s situation is different and would require extensive monitoring of care.Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"
"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 have ventricular septal defect and tetralogy of fallot i'm 20 years old and starting to think of my future and wondering if i will be able to have children of my own? What might be some risk?"AlyssMitch, Support Network Member
"A healthy patient with a history of TOF can often have children of their own. There can be some risks depending on the heart function, the pulmonary valve function, etc., but probably not sufficient to recommend against pregnancy. The most important thing is that this patient should be seen by an adult congenital heart specialist who can assess them and counsel them on this.Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
Thank you, Dr. Breinholt"
"My 14 yo daughter was diagnosed four yrs ago with svt and mild leaky tricuspid valve. She had successful ablation three yrs ago. Back then dr said leak would be to be fixed “one day”. But last year it started leaking more. Just had first mri. Says moderate stage. TR 26%. Question of small hole. And borderline rv overload with rv volume 1.5 times that of left. What do you think next set should be? Cardiac Cath? At this rate when would you guess it would need repair? Is it always done open heart? Thanks from a nerve racked Mom!"HollyAlfred, Support Network Member
"Hopefully, you have a pediatric cardiologist who can help guide you in thinking this through and decision making. A cardiac catheterization is probably not necessary at this point, but the valve may reach a point where repair is necessary. From the information provided, I’m not sure if your child has arrived at that point yet. At this point, the primary option for tricuspid valve repair is surgical. Please follow up with her cardiologist and keep asking questions. Thank you, Dr. Breinholt"Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
"My daughter was diagnosed with VSD when she was 2 weeks old. We monitored it but then was told it had gone away. She is now 10 and complaining of chest pain and sob with activity. Went back in and echocardiagram now shows VSD and ASD. Could this cause her pain? Should I be looking for something else? All pulmonary test were normal."Djenn434, Support Network Member
"The pain is very unlikely to be related to the heart defects. It is very possible that applying pressure to the chest area where it hurts will cause pain, which is suggestive of it not being the heart, but the muscles and joints of the chest wall. The next steps are probably to decide what to do about the defects, depending on her age. Thank you, Dr. John Breinholt."Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
"I had a stent placed 8 days ago and also had a blood transfusion i keep feeling overheated is that normal"black1821, Support Network Member
"Good morning Black1821- the symptoms you’re reporting of overheating after stent placement and blood transfusion should be discussed further with your medical provider. With more assessment, your provider will determine if the symptoms you’re having is related to your procedures or other medical conditions. It should also be determined if the symptoms you’re describing is overheating versus flushing which should definitely be monitored. With stent placement, there are many risks and require extensive monitoring with follow-ups. Thank you for asking, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"When will I begin rehab after open heart surgery for HOCM?"Teacher1970, Support Network Member
"Hello, After heart or vascular procedure you’ll need help getting back on your feet. Rehabilitation is an important part of your recovery. Rehabilitation begins in the hospital. After the staff consultation and the assessment from the cardiologist, the rehab staff is notified to assess your physical condition and discuss next steps for rehabilitation. Once rehabilitation starts; two to eight weeks later, your medical provider will determine the next stage of your rehabilitation. Normally you will begin a 12-week exercise program, specifically designed and individualized for people who have had heart or vascular surgery. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"I had a fall in October and I hit my head. I had the Fall in the afternoon after moving the trash can I lost my footing and fell hitting my head on trash container. I got up quickly looked at my clothing to make sure I wasn't dirty. I have always tried to look my best even when moving the trash container. I survey my self and was pleased I had gotten dirty, but my head was hurting at the site where the trash can hit me. I went in side and told my wife I had fell down. She asked me if I was okay and I put her hand on the spot where I hurt my head. She said " thats stange I can feel this spot traveling. We should probably go to the ER to have you checked out". Quite naturally I refused. We had things to do that day and I was waiting on the mail man to bring me my workers comp check. You see I fell at work and injured my knee and my back which led to me losing my balance. My wife and I ran our errands and went out to eat and returned home later that night. We entertained ourselves with the TV till around 12 midnight. That is when I noticed I still had a nagging headache but now my face is tingling. I was so foolish. Again, my wife insisted he go to the ER now. We took my blood pressure at its 236/ over 120 something. Some far out number, and still I refuse. I said "wait until in the morning" Ill be better then. I got up that morning and I don't know something told me I should go to the ER. It may have been that I couldn/t control my right side,or that my head was still hurting or the fact that I could not even Dress my self. My right arm was trying to slap my face off. It was out of control. It was then I stopped protesting as went to the ER. THe medical doctor on call knew what he was dealing with right away. Within Three days I was on my way to a rehab facility and was up walking in a week and working on my speech. Once out of the hopspital I quickly went back to my old eating habits. Well, did I mention that I am also Diabetic. I was feeling so good back to my old self. I was as frisky as a rabbit. My wife didn't know what to think of me or why. Well a week into being home other signs of the stroke started to show up. We where heartbroken and baffeled. How could this be happeining to us. I speech became a little more labored and now my arm hurts I can feel tingling up my arm like a hundred ants a crawling on my arm. So back to the ER I go this time I know better than to put up a fight. That is when we found out that there had been a delay in the stroke and that this happens. I begun therapy and now I am on my way to recovery. It has not been easy. Seems like for every step I make forward something takes me two steps back. It is so frustrating. YOu work hard to get your life back and it just dangles is front of you like a carrot and yo wonder if you will ever get your life back. Then like a bad joke the very medicine that seemed to help is contributing to memory loss. Gabapentin that I am taking is now contributing to memory loss. Do this nightmare ever end?"BobbyRay, Support Network Member
"While taking Gabapentin, acute/short term memory loss is commonDr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
especially depending on the dosage. Although it seems that you
are making small steps and not much improvements it is wise to
speak to your provider to determine if other options available
instead of Gabapentin. During this process, you must remain
positive. Remember that every medication could possibly have
a side effect but you have to weigh the benefits with the risks.
Dr. Latonya Law"
"My 48yr old husband had a stroke Mar 2017. Thankfully with 6 months of rehab, he has almost fully recovered. The issue he is having is Central Post Stroke Pain. He is currently on Nortriptyline but it only takes the edge off. Does anyone have an experience with effective treatments? We are desperate! Thank you!"kellymast, Support Network Member
"There was a wonderful article in Stroke Connection that appeared in Spring 2017 issue on central post-stroke pain, which is often related to damage to an area of the brain that carries lots of sensory pathways. The symptoms are treated with medications and early mobilization post-stroke. There is correlation between chronic pain and stroke so I encourage family/caregivers to be on watch for signs of depression and to alert MD/healthcare practitioner re: such. The article also mentions the use of motor cortex stimulation which is an experimental treatment that is currently being tested. See also this website: https://centralpainsyndromefoundation.com/.Stephanie Vaughn PhD RN CRRN FAHA,
Thank you, Dr. Vaughn"
"My father is 48 years old and suffered a stroke in December that has left his right side numb. We have just began to see a neurologist, but we are not completely sure about what goes on with his thought process. He is unable to work or drive but his desire to go to rehab or to even go somewhere as simple as Walmart is non-existent. If left alone, he doesn't move from his chair and may even forget to eat all day long. Is there a way to fuel the desire in him to want to work harder for his recovery? We do not want to force him and make him miserable, but something needs to be done. Thank you."asudaughter2, Support Network Member
"Often, motivation and desire to participate may be affected by the location of the stroke, as well as the psychosocial implications (depression, anxiety) of such a change in status and abilities. Depending on the location of the stroke, he might benefit from speech-language services and/or occupational therapy to assess his ability, desire, and opportunities to participate more in therapy and the community. He may also benefit from seeing a counselor to work through the life changes experienced due to the stroke. You’re very right that forcing him will not be as helpful. Continuing to support him as best as you can and trying to encourage activities and hobbies that he used to enjoy are good ideas for improving his buy-in to community and therapy activities.
Alicia Danto, PT, DPT, NCS
Harris Health Stroke Team under the Stroke Medical Director Dr. Kass"
"I take care of someone that just got the news that they have congestive heart failure with enlarge heart , the heart is working at 30% in three stage heart failure his Dr. said 6 months to a year is this about right ?"leeclay, Support Network Member
"Because each individual stages and diagnosis are different this is not an easy question to answer without the health information to review. Please follow up with your provider for additional information. Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Should a person with COPD be out of breath all through the day or should I take him back to the doctor because he wasn't breathing this way yesterday he's short of breath all day and night now"Kokomojo18, Support Network Member
"Thank you for this question. Shortness of breath is a common symptom of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and increasing shortness of breath could be related to acute exacerbation or a trigger that could suddenly worsen symptoms of COPD. It may be triggered by an infection with bacteria or viruses and also environmental pollutants. You would definitely want to follow up with his doctor for worsening symptoms with COPD. Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"My Father who is 67 had a stroke on January 11. He stayed in the hospital a day and then to rehab for 2 weeks. He is doing great! But he used to be such a funny and generally happy person and I haven't seen him laugh since the stroke happened. Is this permanent?"KellyGhann, Support Network Member
"Recovery depends on many different factors: where in the brain the stroke occurred, how much of the brain was affected, the patient’s motivation, caregiver support, the quantity and quality of rehabilitation, and how healthy the survivor was before the stroke. Because every stroke and stroke survivor is unique, it is difficult to determine.Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C,
With recovery, gains can happen quickly or over time. The most rapid recovery usually occurs during the first three to four months after a stroke, but some stroke survivors continue to recover well into the first and second-year post-stroke.
I recommend sharing concerns with your provider.
Thank you, Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C"
"How can I make even small amounts of exercise more appealing to my 88 to father with 5 cardiac stints and has had both carotid arteries cleaned out? He has degenerative and rheumatoid arthritis and pulmonary hypertension, along with other medical conditions."ddawgrx, Support Network Member
"Many or all exercises could be a major risk for your father, it is important that you check with your providers to make sure your father is cleared before any exercises are started. Due to the nature of your father diagnosis, many exercises could increase symptoms which could make it impossible for any exercises.Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"
"A retired RN as well. How to make food appealing to make someone comply with heart healthy diet"Randilee53, Support Network Member
"People eat with their eyes first. You don’t want to overwhelm them with portions; you don’t want to overcrowd the plate. Patients can lose their appetite quickly if there is too much food and they grew up having to clean their plate.Dr. Michelle Grimes,
Presentation of food has to be well thought out. Surprisingly, the dishes that food is served on can change how a person sees food that they eat. Because color is a critical element, try to avoid having meals that are of one-color. For example, if the meal contains corn and peaches, cranberry salad is added to brighten the plate. Garnishes that are edible such as fresh chopped parsley or ground paprika sprinkled on food items can also be used. Seeing the food from the point of view of the person eating is key to compliance. Some other things to take into consideration is, Item placement.
We know that most people are right-handed, so placing the mug on to the lower right side of the persons plate with the handle at 4:30 (imagine a clockface.) helps along with silverware—not disposables unless requested, goes toward the bottom right so that it is easily reachable. You want everything there for the individual so they don’t have to hunt for things.
Lastly, dietary recommendations ideally should be individualized, therefore dietary appropriately seasoned foods should also enhance the person’s appetite.
Thank you, Dr. Michelle Grimes"
"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
"My blood pressure is 111/156. What should I do?"SangeetaDevi, Support Network Member
"Thank you for this question. Make an appointment with your Primary Care Provider ASAP. Have annual blood work done if you have not already done so. Hypertension is known as a Silent Killer because you can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C,
Thank you, Kimaka Bowens, MSN, APRN, FNP-C"
"I can't afford health insurance, but yet I make too much to get government funded health care.I feel like that I have been sentence to death. What can I do now?"ledetjerry24, Support Network Member
"You could check out the “Health Insurance Marketplace” which is an organization that facilitates structured and competitive markets for purchasing health coverage. The Health Insurance Marketplace offers standardized health insurance plans to individuals, families and small businesses. The health insurance marketplace is making it easier to find quality, affordable coverage. Go to https://www.hhs.gov-affordable-care-act"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Stress and anxiety is something I have lived with all my life...I worry about everything and everybody"Tcano1934, Support Network Member
"The two are actually distinct. Stress is defined as the need to do adapt to change--good change or bad. We all deal with stress to one degree or another in our busy lives whether through dealing with a sudden snow storm, the inability to find a parking spot or being diagnosed with an illness. Anxiety, however, is uncontrollable worry. It can consume us and severely detract from our enjoyment of living. We manage our stress through better planning and problem-solving but we often need treatment for anxiety. Such treatments consist of medications and/or psychotherapy. I suggest asking your primary care provider to evaluate you for an anxiety disorder and prescribe an appropriate treatment for relief.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"how do i know if my loved one is getting better"diannedykes3, Support Network Member
"Good question. Ask it directly of your loved one’s healthcare providers to get their professional opinions. But also make your own judgments based on your loved one’s functioning. Is he or she able to walk a flight of stairs or stroll around the block without becoming winded? Can he or she carry a full laundry basket? How much energy does he or she have? It would be important, by the way, for you to share your observations of your loved ones’ functioning with the healthcare professionals so that they have a better sense of your loved one’s day-to-day health.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer; co-author of AARP"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"Does your emotional well being have anything to do with your heart health?"VLindeman, Support Network Member
"Yes. There is substantial research that shows that people who have had a heart attack or heart surgery are approximately 20-30% more likely to develop depression. There is also evidence that people who are depressed and anxious are more prone to developing heart disease, mostly because they may indulge in too much eating, drinking and smoking as ways of coping with their troubled emotions. These unhealthy behaviors then have negative consequences for their physical health. Being of sound mind and body means taking care of your heart, decreasing stress and seeking help with depression and anxiety.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer; co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology