Your Questions Answered
"My heart attack has set my acid reflux off the charts. The worst part is the symptoms mirror a heart attack so its constantly in my head. Is this normal? How do you deal with it. My herd medication is not doing the trick"Tomq930, Support Network Member
"Heartburn, angina and heart attack may feel very much alive in which it can be difficult to tell the difference from your medical history and physical exam. Since everyone’s symptoms are different it is recommended that you speak with your provider in regards if this is normal for you. If you have persistent chest pain and you aren’t sure if its heartburn you should seek medical help as soon as possible and speak to your provider about your medication. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"I am so scared..been having heart flutters and racing..went to the ER in April they did an ecg. Another in June..Cardiologist today..another ecg..he said it showed change and that it may mean i had a small heart attack..i said so you ares saying i have had a heart attack? And he said not me... the ecg. He ordered test and gave me a monitor..did i have a HA ..or not? I suffer from terrible Anxiety Panic attacks. NOW WHAT? I AM SCARED OF THE NUCLEAR STRESS TEST..AND RAISING MY HEART RATE AS I HAVE READ OTHERS EXPERIENCES.. Please help!"Bcatron, Support Network Member
"You sound extremely distressed and anxious. Many heart attack survivors are. But being anxious all the time—always on the lookout for danger—will not make you safer and will greatly detract from your enjoyment of life. Fortunately, we have very good treatments for anxiety, including medications and behavioral treatments, such as relaxation techniques and meditation. I suggest you talk with your primary care provider about being evaluated for treatments for anxiety. Will these treatments solve all your heart problems? No, you will still need to undergo tests, take heart medicines, and practice a healthy lifestyle. But reducing your anxiety will make living with a heart condition more bearable so that you won’t go through life just as a cardiac patient but as a happier and more well-rounded person.Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
Thank you for this great question. Dr. Jacobs"
"What is P A D"newyorksis, Support Network Member
"Peripheral Artery Disease –it is a circulatory condition in which narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs. Thank you, Dr. Laytona Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Are spasms normal after bypass surgery?"Barbiejaa, Support Network Member
"Coronary Artery spasms may be a serious complication. The small number of cases reported is responsible for making it difficult not only to choose an adequate treatment but also to determine risk factors that might be responsible for its incidence. It is recommended that you follow up with your provider to discuss further because coronary artery spasms have a multifactorial character, sudden appearance and must be part of the differential diagnosis. Thank you for this great question. Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"I just recently started on Eliquis after being diagnosed with a fib about 3 weeks ago. In the three weeks I have experienced slight bleeding gums without brushing my teeth and bleeding to my left eye after sneezing pretty hard. They tell me that I need to continue with the medication to prevent strokes. I gave to wonder is this safe with these complications so early. I’m a 60 year female and also an RN. My little bit of medical knowledge makes me weary of blood thinners. What do you think about these symptoms! Thank you This is all so frightening."Dianne1957, Support Network Member
"It recommended that you speak with your provider who prescribed this medication. You will need to speak about your concerns and possible side effects you are having while on the medication Eliquis. They will be able to provide you more information and possibly have other alternative medications. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"My left body became paralytic due to stroke 2 years ago. I have regained my functions except extension of fingers and grasping by left hand. I am having daily physiotherapy. How long it takes to get extension of fingers. I can flex them but can't extend. Pls. give your answer/opinion or recommend me how can I use my fingers"ashishjain37, Support Network Member
"Unfortunately, complete motor recovery occurs within two years after a stroke. The arm recovers usually from the shoulder to the hand with the muscles causing flexion becoming stronger than those that cause extension. Thankfully, researchers have been working for the last thirty years on a variety of means to augment human motion with machines. Automated gloves and implantable electrode arrays are just two of the many artificial ways to augment motion. Please contact your local stroke center and see if they have any trials being offered for motor recovery augmentation. If no one in your area has this expertise, you should search the National Institute of Neurologic Disease and Stroke website for information on where applicable trials are being performed. Good luck."Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"Had a brain stem stroke almost 4 months ago, recovered except for occasional balance issues. will they ever totally go away/"JAG18, Support Network Member
"The interesting thing about balance is that is relative. The brain’s pathways serving to keep our balance include sensation, vision, gravitational information from our vestibular network along with sophisticated adaptive motor responses that are both conscious and reflexive. The brain adapts to new input from damaged pathways by comparing it with intact pathways and eventually remodeling the network to an optimal solution. A year or more is often needed to make a full recovery. A therapy plan with daily exercise speeds recovery. Hopefully, your optimal solution will be swift and complete. Thank you. Dr. Joseph Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"My 52 year old son had 5 way by pass surgery in May. Last week he had a stroke and almost died. After they removed the blood clot he appears to have made a full recovery. He has not been put on blood thinners. Something about they haven't seen him go into Afib. I do not understand, I am afraid of him having stroke. Are the doctors wrong?"Cdotis, Support Network Member
"Your emotional support for your son is commendable. Atrial fibrillation is always a concern when an individual sustains an embolic stroke of an uncertain source. You should be encouraged that the doctors caring for your son are investigating all possibilities for your son’s stroke. An implantable monitor is sometimes used to search for intermittent cardiac arrhythmias. However, until a source of embolus that has been demonstrated to be minimized best with anticoagulants without untoward risk is detected, your son may be safer with medications such as aspirin along with optimal cerebrovascular risk minimization. Thank you, Dr. Joseph Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"How do you deal with the post stroke depression. It's very difficult for me."Susieq1220, Support Network Member
"Post-stroke depression is very common among stroke survivors, especially those who suffered a left-brain stroke affecting the right-sides of their bodies. I recommend that you ask your primary care provider to evaluate you for clinical depression. Medications and psychotherapy can be very helpful to improve your mood and better adjust to your post-stroke life.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"had stroke almost two years ago is it too late to have the surgery to remove the clot"jakelane, Support Network Member
"Your body removes the blood clot from most arteries within days through chemistry present within your bloodstream. Clots occurring outside of the vessels and within the brain are scavenged by microglia and removed nearly entirely. The remaining blood within the brain is isolated by an astrocytic scar. After two years, your clot is gone and the surgeon’s work is done. Thank you, Dr. Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"I have a mildly lvh amd offen experience chest discomfort. Is that normal ? I’m not on any med because my blood pressure is back to normal and I do light walking for exercise to aid with regressing it back ."Sweetautumna, Support Network Member
"LVH is a term for a heart’s left pumping chamber that has thickened and may not be pumping efficiently. The thickened wall can cause the left chamber to weaken, stiffen and lose elasticity, which may prevent healthy blood flow. Without treatment you may experience symptoms of chest discomfort in which you should consult with your provider for further testing. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"My husband has Familial Hypercholesterolemia, and I have high cholesterol, but the doctor says it is not the same, why?"Support Network Member
"Cholesterol can be high for a lot of reasons. Lifestyle can play a large role, some medications increase cholesterol levels, some diseases can increase cholesterol levels (for example certain types of kidney disease and thyroid disease). Familial Hypercholesterolemia is different in that it is an inherited disease that leads to very high cholesterol levels starting very early in life. In most patients, FH is inherited as an “autosomal dominant” disease, i.e. a child of an affected parent has a 50/50 chance of inheriting Familial Hypercholesterolemia. You should discuss this further with your physician and you may find the website of the FH Foundation helpful as well. Thank you for this question."Vera Bittner,
"on the fence about advice from heart surgeon and cardioligist for future valve repair/replacement. have been monitored for the past 4 years but now the status has changed to moderate/ severe. i have anorexia since 18yrs. am now 52 years. they are concerned because of this. i am trying to gain more weight to help the odds. what do you think. should i wait or risk the odds of it getting really bad. i have more tired days. i do run everyday for 45 min."MaryanneVio, Support Network Member
"Cardiac procedures should be taken seriously … It is recommended that you follow all of your cardiologist orders in regard to your heart health. Thank you, Dr. Latyona Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Hello, I have a 40 yo daughter who had a Medtronic mitral valve implant at the age of 5 yo. Last month she was diagnosed with chf. All her tests, (echo, neck catheterization), came back okay. However, her e.f. is between 20-25 percent, but her symptoms ( dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue), are mild to moderate at worse. She is on Entresto, spironolactone, generic coreg, and warfarin. Hopefully, these medications will work for her. However, I do worry about the affect these meds will have on her kidneys. What should she look for in terms of symptoms if her kidneys start having problems? Thanks."KatMarie, Support Network Member
"The main symptoms that she will notice could be related to the kidneys would be swelling of the extremities but it is recommended that your daughter follow up with your provider to monitor the lab values which could help indicate how the kidneys are functioning. Thank you Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Are iron infusions typically recommended for those with cardiomyopathy?"DoxieMama, Support Network Member
"It is recommended that patients with cardiomyopathy only receives intravenous carboxymaltose which has demonstrated safe and effective treatment for iron repletion in patients. Oral iron supplementations is not effective in iron deficient patients with heart failures. For further information, please speak with your medical team. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"My 6 month old son was diagnosed (echo done after a week) with a 3.4mm * 4mm perimembranous vsd at the time of birth (premature baby - 32 weeks). We did an Echo when he was 2 months old, and was told that the size of the hole had reduced to 2 mm and were asked to repeat the echo after his first birthday. During regular pediatric consultations, his pediatrician mentioned the murmur has become soft and asked us to do an echo as he felt that the VSD must have closed by itself or was about to close. So, we did an echo last week with a senior pedeatric cardiologist and were shocked to hear that the VSD has been partially closed by RCC prolapse and there is a mild Aortic valve (grade 1) leak now. He also told us that there is a mild AR and would need a surgery if the aortic valve leak increases. He prescribed digoxin and asked us to come for a follow up next month. We are struggling to recover from the shock and want to know whether surgery is the only option? Are there any symptoms that would indicate the increase in aortic valve leak? Will this be fixed by a one time surgery or will require life long medication?"TSDK1, Support Network Member
"It can happen that perimembranous VSDs can reduce in size, and rarely can close spontaneously. It is usually from tricuspid valve tissue that obstructs the defect, although in my experience, it usually only partially closes the defect. When they are small, many cardiologists choose to watch them. The one risk taken with that approach is the development of aortic valve regurgitation. In that setting, many would recommend closure before the regurgitation worsens.Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
The VSD will be close with a single surgery. The outcome of the aortic valve is variable. It may not require further intervention, but that is not certain. Your child will require a lifelong relationship with a cardiologist if only to watch for any changes.
At this stage, surgery is the only option to address this problem.
Thank you, Dr. Breinholt"
"My son was recently diagnosed at 12 yrs old with PAPVR. He is scheduled to see a cardiac surgeon soon. Any help with information and connection with parents who have been faced with this would be greatly appreciated. I am scared and I am trying to learn all I can.. in what to expect... If anyone can share their experiences it would mean the world to me."Bsmall, Support Network Member
"I am unaware of any specific group for this. Most of these patients do very well. It is a relatively straightforward surgery that involves the closure of an atrial septal defect (sinus venosus) and rerouting of the pulmonary vein. The challenges typically involve where the pulmonary vein enters, and complications can involve residual narrowing of the pulmonary vein. Nevertheless, it usually goes well.Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
Some centers have begun offering alternative approaches to this surgery that involve a less invasive approach that doesn’t involve a sternotomy (incision in the middle of the chest), but rather in the underarm area. One center is in Sacramento, and the other is the University of Texas HSC at Houston/Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital where I work. This is a relatively new approach with a better cosmetic result. Thank you, Dr. Breinholt"
"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"
"Hello: I have two grand daughters (twins) who were born 9 weeks early. They both have heart murmurs. One of the twins Angelina had surgery at CHOP. She was just released on Nov 18, 2018. She has a feeding tube and receives 1/8 of oxygen. Both twins suffer from acid reflux and feeding must be done very care fully. How long does it take to recover from surgery for a heart murmur?"angelinaA728, Support Network Member
"Heart murmurs are sounds, not heart disease. Sometimes a murmur is innocent, with no heart disease associated with it. It would be important to know the heart disease that was treated with surgery at CHOP to answer the question. Thank you, Dr. Breinholt"Dr. John Breinholt, Pediatric Cardiology
"My husband had a stroke 4 yr ago that affected use of his left arm and leg. He can't use his arm and can walk short distances with a leg brace and cane. He his terrible "tone" (spasticity) in his left side and leg that comes and goes. He describes it as burning and tightness. Everyone we've talked to (PT, primary, neurologist) says there's nothing that can be done for that. Is that true? It keeps him in bed and wheelchair for up to a week when its bad. Affects his ability to sleep and makes him miserable. Is there anything to help this???"OtterAnnie, Support Network Member
"Your husband’s stroke recovery seems to have been incomplete leaving him with both tone alteration and sensory disturbance on his left side. The tone problem can be addressed through therapy, pharmacology and surgery. The optimization of motor recovery should be individualized using all three modalities to allow him to perform daily tasks. The “burning” and tightness may be part of a post-stroke pain syndrome. This can be managed through therapy and pharmacologic approaches. Sometimes a refresher course guided by a stroke rehabilitation specialist helps improve the quality of life even years removed from the initial stroke. Thank you, Dr. Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"How common is it to see stroke patients go backwards in their recovery process instead of getting better?"IvetteRam, Support Network Member
"The grand thing about stroke survival is that nearly all get better in some degree as time passes. A period of deterioration within the first several days surrounding a stroke can be from extension of the incident stroke. Clots extend into additional vessels stealing blood from viable brain. Hemorrhage into the brain extends disturbing the surrounding environment even further. Later deterioration may be from a variety of medical conditions including infection, poor oxygenation and perfusion, additional brain swelling, blockage of the ventricular drainage system in the brain and depression to name a few. Thankfully, each of these causes for neurologic decline has a treatment and your clinicians have been trained to be watchful and to intervene early and optimize recovery. Thank you, Dr. Joseph Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"I had an ablation 3 weeks ago today went for for a check up ekg it Says I am still in a-fib. Was told that sometimes it takes 3 months for healing. While in recovery after the ablation,I had to have a bag Of magnesium,it was low out of range. I feel that this may be involved with my situation. The Dr.s do not tell you anything.I really do not think that my cardiologist knows.I have not had my mag. checked in till then.I experience severe cramps in my rib cage,and have always felt that it was my electrolytes."Meister, Support Network Member
"Your concerns are valid but it is recommended that you speak with your cardiologist about your concerns and symptoms you’re experiencing. Each recovery period could vary but for further treatment, your information will be available with the provider that could make the changes. Thank you, Dr. Laytona Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Last week I had a minor heart attack. As a result I had angioplasty done to my main artery. Since then I experience shortness of breath often. Is it normal and should I expect to recover soon?"zahiralam, Support Network Member
"The recovery period varies but during the healing process, you could possibly experience shortness of breath after a heart attack. It is important to consult with your doctor for possible other testing if symptoms persist and to give updates. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law"Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"Hello my name isDora my husband had a mini stroke just needed to talk with wives that been or going through with spouse. Need support I’m sad all the time about his recovery"DoraWilliams, Support Network Member
"Dora, your instincts are very good. Reaching out to others who have had similar experiences is an excellent way to better cope with your feelings of sadness and fear. The Support Network is an excellent place to find those others. I trust that you have already had some comforting and informative conversations with wives who are online here.Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
A few of my own thoughts about your situation: Even though mini-strokes often leave little permanent damage, they shake people up terribly. Suddenly all sense of safety is stripped away. The aftermath is certainly a time for sadness. But, strangely, it is also a time for gratitude. As I’m sure your doctors have told you, mini-strokes are warning signs to heed to prevent a bigger stroke from occurring. You and your husband are lucky in a way; you have the opportunity now to change your lifestyles, live healthier, and reduce the likelihood of further misfortune. I feel sure the two of you will use this chance well.
Thank you, Dr. Barry Jacobs"
"My husband had a massive stroke what can I expect when he comes home from tehab"Carla92, Support Network Member
"Every stroke is different. After a massive stroke, many of the survivor’s prior skills of daily living are impaired or lost. Health care professional with training in stroke recovery include physicians, nurses and therapists. This team often plans for an individual’s return home with the entire family in mind. A home visit to inventory space to accommodate equipment and adapt the living area often precedes the patient’s discharge. After discharge, visits from nurses, therapists and sometimes physicians continue to occur. If the stroke survivor has difficulties with the home environment additional adaptations can be made. Eventually, re-integration into the community socially should occur. If emotional difficulties of either the stroke survivor or a member of their family arises, care should be sought from mental health professionals. Thank you, Dr. Joseph Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"My mother had a stroke on 8/29/2018 and today is 11/24/2018. She often has hot feeling in back and overall upper torso. Is that common for stroke survivors? What can help her with the hot feeling. The hot feeling is hot to the touch. Like her skin is hot."Gilmore2018, Support Network Member
"The nerves control skin temperature through at automatic temperature regulation system. A stroke could uncommonly alter this system and cause symptoms. However, it is more likely that blood pressure medication may be the cause. Please ask your mother’s physician if one of her meds could be affecting her temperature regulation. Thank you for this question. Dr. Hanna"Joseph P. Hanna M.D., Neurology
"My spouse is having issues with “Pumphead” syndrome. He had mitral valve replacement 9/17. Anyone out there have any advice for us?"Cwag528, Support Network Member
"Pumphead syndrome also known as Postperfusion syndrome is usually seen after the patient has been hooked up to a heart-lung machine for open heart and also valve replacement. Each individual symptom varies but they could include patchy recall, social difficulties and possibly personality changes. The main symptoms of Pumphead is decreased mental capacity in which the condition and symptoms varies for each person which is hard to determine. Studies have shown a high incidence of neurocognitive deficit soon after surgery, but the deficit are often not a permanent impairment Thankyou for this question."Dr. Latonya Law, Family Nurse Practitioner
"I need help finding the proper care or rehab for my adult son who is on Alaska Medicaid and Medicare. His stroke encompassed the entire right hemisphere, right eye blindness and left eye left field cut along with left side weakness of his left leg and paralysis of the left arm. His stroke happened 8/24/14 he is now 35. He steals and sells my property to buy pot and alcohol. He's not drinking and smoking everyday as far as I know but his behavior is that of a addict. I've found places that would be perfect, I think, but none of them take Medicaid/Medicare. What am I supposed to do? He's going to end up homeless if I can not find the proper help for him and support for me. Please, are there solutions that I'm not aware of?"dianalavona, Support Network Member
"Substance abuse and the anti-social behaviors that go along with it are a scourge for many American families nowadays. But it sounds like there are three issues here for your family:Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
--The one that you present is that of insurance coverage for drug rehab services. I strongly recommend that you call your state’s Medicaid office directly to learn of exactly what treatment services your son might be able to receive and where. I doubt that Alaska has no facilities or intensive outpatient programs that accept “dual eligible” insurance—Medicare and Medicaid.
--That said, it will make no difference what resources you find unless your son is truly interested in changing his behaviors. I’ve talked with many parents who, with all best intentions, tried to rescue their children by strong-arming them into drug rehabs, then found that their children quickly dropped out of those services. The prevailing philosophy of substance abuse rehab in general is that addicts must decide to change for themselves and not at the behest of their parents or anyone else in their lives.
--But a third issue here is whether your son’s drug use is his primary problem or whether he is using pot and alcohol because he’s bored, depressed and/or anxious. People with significant disabilities of all types have high rates of substance use because of their lack of gainful employment and low self-esteem. Before you even try to find a substance abuse program for him, I would have him evaluated by his primary care physician who can sort out which of your son’s problems should be treated first.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"
"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 boyfriend of over 5 years had a heart attack at the age of 27. He isn’t on any drugs just a young man with a poor diet who was chain smoker. He had his heart attack on march 9th and had 2 arties clogged. Thankfully we made in into the ER in time where he then had to get a stent placed in. I understand he is struggling with this new life style now that he has to adjust his entire life. He’s quit cigarettes cold turkey since then. But I feel that his diet and his alcohol intake could be better. I tell myself every single day that it will get better. But emotionally it’s been getting harder. I can’t stress it enough on how he should’ve be grateful that he’s able to wake up and see another day. But it kills me inside that he isn’t concern about his diet and alcohol intake. The doctor gave us specific details tht he should only have 1 beer. But. I find him drinking 4 occasionally. I can’t sleep because I am always worried about his health. I just wish that this happened to me because when it comes to health he’s very ignorant nor cares to making any adjustments with diet and finding a new job that fits his health. I can’t stress enough and I can’t stop thinking about me not being able to live with myself if another episode to recurrent."Sangpanh, Support Network Member
"Your boyfriend is very fortunate to have you in his corner. This sounds like it has been a time of crisis and change for both of you. He has changed significantly—quitting chain-smoking is a tall order—but not enough to give you the assurance he is doing all he can to safeguard his health. Rather than remind him constantly about his eating and drinking and probably make him feel like you are nagging him, I suggest two strategies:Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
--Write him a hand-written letter in which you express how much you care for him and how much his health and happiness mean to you. Ask him to take better of himself for his sake and yours.
--If you don’t think that direct approach would work, then I suggest you send a letter or leave a voicemail for your boyfriend’s cardiologist to inform him about your concerns for your boyfriend’s diet and alcohol intake. Let the doctor then do the dirty work of confronting your boyfriend about his health habits.
As the Serenity Prayer says, though, you will have to ultimately accept what you cannot change. If your boyfriend is ready to do more to help himself, then he will. If he isn’t and has more health problems, it will be extremely regrettable but not your fault. Really.
Thank you, Dr. Barry Jacobs"
"I experience bipolar 2, ptsd, depression and anxiety. But what works best for depression? Because I am taking prozac for bipolar 2, but it doesn't help depression even with a higher dose"Allie117, Support Network Member
"The treatment guidelines for Bipolar II Disorder call for an antidepressant (such as Prozac) and a mood stabilizer (such as Depakote or Abilify). Using the antidepressant without the mood stabilizer won’t work nearly as well for reducing depressive symptoms. I suggest you ask your prescribing provider to review your medication regimen. You may also want to consider psychotherapy as an adjunctive therapy. I hope you feel better soon!—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
"My husband is hearing impaired and sometimes it really stresses me out. What's the best way to handle it without getting frustrated with him. Thank you."Myheart66, Support Network Member
"Patience is more than a virtue. It is a skill learned with increased awareness and practice. So long as your husband is willing to wear hearing aids and do all he can to make it easier for you to communicate with him then his remaining hearing impairment is just going to be part of your relationship with him. You will have to adapt by choosing only quiet places in which to talk and regularly increase the volume of your voice.Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
On the other hand, If he won’t get aids or wear the ones he has, then I suggest having a frank but calm talk with him in which you state plainly that he is making you unhappy. I hope he will then accept making changes for your sake and your marriage.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"
"I have a friend that had a stroke and she is having a very hard time at home. She has the at home therapy etc but she is pivoting into the depressed, crying because she can't do what she use to. Her stroke left her left side unusable her eye, arm and leg which is getting a little better but her husband is in a wheelchair also and he is overwhelmed with doing all the housework, cleaning, washing clothes etc. It has been exhausting for both of them--they have tricare prime so putting her in a nursing home is out they don't cover it. They live in Warner Robins, GA and I am trying to find someone that can help them out. They have an adopted teen 14 years old --which has add, adhd--she just shuts it all out. They don't have a computer either that is why I am asking...if anybody can refer me to anybody that can help them..please let me know..quickly Thank you"PattiePitts, Support Network Member
"You are a good friend to be trying to help them. Their situation is obviously very difficult. They need several types of help:Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology
--A social worker from Veterans Affairs or the Georgia Department of Public Assistance may be able to help them get increased insurance coverage to pay for other in-home support services.
--A licensed clinical social worker, psychiatric nurse or clinical psychologist through the home care agency that’s providing therapy may be able to evaluate your friend for depression and then initiate effective treatments.
--A case worker from the Georgia Division of Children and Families may be able to provide support services to all the family members to keep this family intact.
--Most of all, though, they need a guide through our complicated social services and healthcare systems. Sometimes insurance company care managers can play that role.
Your friend’s problems are complex. She will need to be patient. She will need you to stick by her as she slowly tries to rebuild her life.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers"
"I am newly diagnosed with AFib, I am having anxiety because it was a frightening experience. I find myself checking my pulse rate and breathing throughout the day, HELP! I want this to stop..."Sunshine12, Support Network Member
"It is not unusual for people with atrial fibrillation, as well as many other heart conditions, to develop uncontrollable worries about their health. We call this marked tendency towoard worry “anxiety.” Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of severe anxiety is to have a racing heart—something which only would only make your afib symptoms worse! What would be most helpful is to realize that afib isn’t likely to kill you every time you feel your heart skipping or racing. Your anxiety would then dissipate. This usually takes increased familiarity with this new reality of your heart condition—and that takes time. However, if you continue to respond with anxiety every time you feel your afib symptoms, then it would be advisable to meet with you physician to be assessed for an anxiety disorder. We have very good pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments for anxiety that will help you worry much less and live with your afib much better.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP"Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., Clinical Psychology