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Filtering by Tag: brain

World Brain Tumor Day

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Today is World Brain Tumor Day!

Hey friends! I’m so glad you’ve joined us for another awareness blog post. Today is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, so that will be the subject of our post today. Last month I did an awareness blog post about brain tumors, so for those of you that read it, today will be all new information. Don’t worry; I wouldn’t make you read the same thing twice! There is so much to learn about brain tumors that I have plenty of new material to cover. I hope you guys have all had a wonderful week since our last post. I’ve basically just been running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off since my last post, so, I’m hoping that this next week will calm down so I can get some more research and work done. You guys know how it is. Let’s get to the point, shall we?

Today is World Brain Tumor Day, which is celebrated every year on June 8th all over the world. Every year, countries band together to remember those that were lost to brain tumors, and raise money to fund research and public health programs.

Brain tumors develop when cells don’t go through their life cycle properly. When normal cells age or become damaged, they are supposed to die, and then be replaced by a new healthy cell. With cancer, the cells either start producing even though it isn’t time for that, or the cells don’t die when they have reached their end. The cell growth forms a mass of tissue, which is referred to as a tumor. Sometimes these tumors are benign, meaning not cancerous, and other times they are malignant, meaning that they are cancerous. Today, we’re going to take a look at the different types of brain tumors, and different grades of brain tumors.

Let’s start with benign brain tumors. Benign tumors are generally not dangerous, however, in the brain, even a benign brain tumor can cause very serious health issues. Because the brain is so complex, and controls every aspect of our bodies and how they function, if a benign tumor is pressing on certain parts of the brain it can prevent it from working properly. For this reason, some benign tumors can become life threatening, particularly when in the area of the brain that controls autonomic nervous system functions (such as heartbeat or breathing). Some benign brain tumors may also become malignant. Usually, if the benign tumor is in an area that can be reached with relative safety, doctors and patients decide to remove them to eliminate the possibility it may become cancerous. Most benign brain tumors usually have clear borders or edges, which make them easier to remove, and means that they likely wont invade surrounding brain tissue. Benign tumors can usually be removed, and once they are gone, they probably won’t grow back. Benign tumors are more like flukes, but in some cases they may return. Benign brain tumors do not spread to other parts of the body, the way that cancer does. If you develop a benign brain tumor, it won’t cause benign tumors to start popping up in other parts of your body.

Moving on to malignant brain tumors, aka cancerous brain tumors or brain cancer. Malignant brain tumors contain cancer cells. Cancer cells divide uncontrollably and invade and badly damage surrounding body tissue. Malignant brain tumors are dangerous, and frequently life threatening. Most malignant brain tumors would kill the patient eventually, if left untreated. Malignant brain tumors grow very quickly, and begin to press on or invade the healthy brain tissue that surrounds it. Malignant brain tumors will continue to invade surrounding tissue until there is no healthy tissue left. Cancer cells can also detach from the tumor and get into the blood stream. When cancer cells reach other parts of the body, tumors begin to grow there, too. These traveling cancer cells that begin growing tumors in other areas mean that the cancer is metastatic. Metastatic tumors are kind of like the original cancer setting up colonies in an effort to claim the area. The good news is that most malignant brain tumors don’t metastasize and spread to other parts of the body. Malignant brain tumors that begin in the brain, rather than as the result of a cancer that has metastasized somewhere else in the body, are called primary brain tumors.

There are a lot of different types of primary brain tumors. The three most common types of primary brain tumors in adults are called astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, and meningioma. Primary brain tumors are defined by what kind of cells they come from, or where in the brain they begin. For example, primary brain tumors commonly arise from glial cells, and therefore the type of tumor is called a glioma. Let’s take a closer look at the three most common types of primary brain tumors in a little more depth.

First up, we have Gliomas. As you just read in the last paragraph, gliomas come from glial cells in the supportive tissue of the brain. Two of the three most common types of primary brain tumors, astrocytoma’s and oligodendroglioma's, fall under the umbrella of gliomas. Astrocytomas are gliomas that begin in astrocytes, which are glial cells that are shaped like stars. There are different grades of astrocytomas. Most astrocytomas begin in the cerebrum, in adults. Brain cancer in children has different statistics, so it’s important to specify. Oligodendrogliomas are gliomas that begin in the cells that make the substance that protects and covers nerves. Like astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas also generally begin in the cerebrum. This type of glioma is most common in middle-aged people.

Meningiomas are the other third most common type of primary brain tumors in adults. Meningiomas begin in the meninges, which are found right under the skull, in the outer coverings of the brain. Meningiomas are most often benign, and grow slowly. This type of primary brain tumor accounts for around one third of brain tumors.

There is a grading scale for primary brain tumors. They range from grade I to grade IV. Lower-grade tumors tend to grow more slowly, while higher-grade tumors grow more quickly. Low-grade tumors can grow into high-grade tumors. Grade I tumors are benign. They grow very slowly, and the cells within the tumor look similar to healthy brain cells, but just slightly off. Grade II tumors are malignant. The cells look less healthy than the cells of a grade I tumor. The tumor grows more quickly than a grade I tumor, but just slightly faster. Grade III tumors and malignant, and considered a high-grade tumor. The abnormal cells are growing, and look very different than normal healthy cells. The actively growing cells are called anaplastic. Grade IV tumors are malignant, and very serious. Grade IV tumors grow the fastest, and have look nothing like a normal healthy cell.

There are many other types of primary brain tumors that I haven’t covered here, because the post would be much too long for me to expect anyone to read. I don’t want to write posts that are TLDR, cause then nobody will learn anything. So, I hope you will all understand that I just covered the basics, instead. I will probably eventually get to cover more about primary brain tumors in the future. If you’re interested in reading the first awareness blog post about brain tumors, which covers the basics, just search “brain tumors” in the “search by cause” section of our website. It will show up in the list, along with all other relevant information about brain tumors.

Thanks so much for reading everybody, and I hope you come back next week for another awareness blog post!

If you are a new reader, welcome! I’m so glad you stumbled across us and decided to give us a read. I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read this. This awareness blog is run and created by Personalized Cause. Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory brand that is known for custom awareness ribbons. In fact, Personalized Cause is the number one source for custom awareness ribbons in the United States. Custom awareness ribbons can be personalized with any name, date, phrase, or message you choose, on any awareness ribbon color you want. The best thing about our custom awareness ribbons is that there is no minimum quantity for purchase. You can buy just one, if you’d like. They’re the perfect way to show somebody that you love and support them, when you may not be able to find the words to say. Illness can be confusing and scary for everyone, not just the patient. A custom awareness ribbon can convey that you are there for them without a single word spoken. They are also a powerful tool for raising awareness, which is kind of our thing. We believe that raising awareness is the first step towards making a difference. Raising awareness is the key to educating the public, raising money to fund research, and helping those who are impacted by the cause.

I hope you’ll join us next week for another awareness blog post!

Gray awareness ribbons are used to represent Brain Cancer/Brain Tumors. To order a gray custom awareness ribbon, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/gray-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=brain%20tumor

#worldbraintumorday #brain #cancer #tumor #braintumor #brainsurgery #chemo #radiation #greymatters #braincancer #glioma #awareness #awarenessblog #awarenessribbons #cancerribbons

Stroke Awareness Month

Personalized Cause

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May is Stroke Awareness Month!

Welcome back, everyone! You know what time it is. Time for another awareness blog post! I hope everyone’s had a nice week since our last post. I, for one, had a pretty uneventful week, which is exactly what I wanted so that I could catch up on some chores. Boring, I know, but it’s gotta get done, and I feel so much better now. So, that means I get to write this week’s blog without the laundry staring me down! It’s the little things in life that make you happy. Anyway… this has nothing to do with anything, and there’s no way you care about any of this, so, I’ll get to it already.

This week’s awareness blog topic is a repeat, but the information is all new, and different from the other post. Sometimes, these duplicate topics are a really good way for me to convey more information than I’m able to in a single post. As I’m sure you know, it’s impossible to fit everything about a topic into a single post, so these additional posts allow me to get some different information to you and dive more in depth to the topic. So, without further blabbering…

Today’s topic is Stroke. I’ve chosen to write about stroke, again, in honor of Stroke Awareness Month, which is observed every May in the United States. I’m going to use this week’s post to relay some important statistics about stroke to you. If you’re interested in reading all the basics, scroll down to our original stroke post.

Ready? Here we go!

• Did you know that one out of every 20 deaths in the U.S. is caused by a stroke? That’s a pretty high number considering all the gazillions of things that can kill you. That means that annually, more than 130,000 people die from a stroke. • The above statistic leads me to this next one, which is… Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. • Almost 800,000 people suffer a stroke. Of the nearly 800,00 people who have strokes, over 600,000 of them are first time strokes. With strokes, once you have one, your chances of having another are higher. This makes taking care of yourself and addressing your risk factors extremely important. The goal is to avoid having any other strokes. The second or third strokes become much more dangerous, and carry a higher potential of death. • Related to the statistic above, the remaining number of people who suffer a stroke are people who have already had at least one other stroke previously. That means around one in four stroke victims have already had a stroke. • Many people do not die from their first stroke. Every 40 seconds that pass, somebody suffers a stroke; But, every four minutes that passes, someone dies from a stroke. This means that there are a fairly large number of people out there who are living with the consequences of a stroke. This leads me to my next statistic. • Stroke is the leading cause of disability (long-term or permanent disability, not short-term disability) in the United States. These patients can no longer work, or will miss a significant amount of work while recovering. • Over half of stroke victims over the age of 65 lose some portion of their mobility, making them dependent on wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or caretakers. • Guess how much the United States spends on the associated costs of stroke every year. Here’s a hint; it’s a lot! Somewhere in the ballpark of a whopping $33 billion (yes, billion with a “b”) is spent annually on things like healthcare services, missed work or unemployment, and medications needed to treat the stroke, and more. • The vast majority of the type of stroke that people have is called are called ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes are when the blood flow to the brain becomes blocked and prevents blood from circulating to the brain, which can cause serious damage to the tissue of the brain. The exact estimate (I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but an exact-exact number is difficult to find) of ischemic strokes that occur out of the total of strokes is 87%. That is an extremely high number, which means that risk factors that lead to this type of stroke may be common. If nearly 87% of strokes are ischemic, doesn’t it make sense that we should all evaluate our risk factors that could one day lead to us having a stroke? I think so! The problem is that people often don’t deal with things until they become a problem. The dangers of doing this with things that could lead to a stroke are that you may never be able to fully get back what you lose to a stroke. People lose their ability to walk, talk, feed themselves, bathe themselves, or care for themselves at all. What I’m trying to get at is: if you wait for it to become a problem, it’s already too late. So, I cannot stress the importance of annual physicals enough. Knowing your risk factors, and seeing when it’s time to make changes to your life are the most important things in order to prevent a stroke from happening (aside from actually implementing those lifestyle changes). • Strokes can occur at any age! Children can and do have strokes, however, your risk for having a stroke generally increases as you get older. In any given year, the percentage of people that suffer a stroke who are over the age of 65 is around 60%. • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are common causes of stroke, and the scary part is that two thirds of the U.S. population has at least one of these conditions or habits. • Ethnicity does affect your risk for stroke. o Stroke risk for African Americans is twice as high as Caucasians, and they are more likely to die from it. o Hispanic people’s risk for stroke lies between the risk of Caucasians and African Americans. o The groups with the highest risk for stroke are African American, Native American, and Native Alaskan. • Less than 40% of people who have already experienced a stroke knew all the major symptoms to look for. • People who were treated in the emergency room within 3 hours of their first symptoms of the stroke have the best outcome, and experience less disability three months after than those who do not get to the emergency room immediately. Keep in mind that strokes can cause significant impairment so experiencing disability three months out is normal. Some people never fully recover. Some will spend years in rehab. When treated early, the outcome for stroke patients often improves greatly, as opposed to those who wait to seek medical attention.

That’s a lot to take in, I know, but I just want to go over one last thing before I finish.

The trick to remembering and spotting the symptoms of a stroke is the acronym FAST.

F – stands for face. Ask the person to smile. Is their face symmetrical or does it droop on one side?

A – stands for arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downwards?

S – stands for speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Do they slur when they speak, or repeat the sentence in a strange way, perhaps with different words?

T – stands for time. If any of these symptoms, or a combination them, occurs, call 911 immediately! Getting to the emergency room as fast as possible is critical in minimizing damage. Do not wait to see if symptoms improve.

Also, just a little tip, being taken by ambulance can be better than driving the person to the ER. This applies to all emergent situations. You bypass the waiting room when you’re brought by ambulance. The ER will still try to get you in as fast as possible if you report chest pains, or show signs of a stroke. The best way to make sure you are seen ASAP is to be taken by ambulance. Just something to consider if you suspect something potentially life threatening may be happening.

That’s all for now! Thanks so much for reading, and I sincerely hope you never have to use any of this information. If you’re a new reader, give this short description of who we are and why we’ve started our awareness blog a quick skim.

Personalized Cause runs this awareness blog. Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory company based in the United States. We specialize in custom awareness ribbons, which are a product unique to our company. Personalized Cause is the only company in the country to offer our customers the ability to personalize any color awareness ribbon they choose, with a name, date, phrase or message. Our custom awareness ribbons are a beautiful way to show support, raise awareness, or be an advocate for your cause. The thing that makes our custom awareness ribbons so popular is the fact that you do not have to buy in bulk. In fact, we have no order minimum for a custom awareness ribbon. We also carry classic awareness ribbons, fabric awareness ribbons, and silicone wristbands. So, if you’re interested, give our products a look. Our entire line of products is very affordable. Custom awareness ribbons are less than 10 bucks. Pretty cool, huh?!

Personalized Cause started this awareness blog in order to help raise awareness for all different sorts of causes out there, using our website as a platform. We are all about awareness, and helping others to raise awareness for the causes that matter to them. We also wanted to take it upon ourselves to raise awareness on behalf of causes that are observed every month in the U.S., or internationally. So, we started this blog to hopefully educate our readers on the various issues affecting so many. You may not be affected by every topic, but you will probably encounter someone who is. We want to make our reader’s knowledgeable, sympathetic, understanding and accepting members of society.

Strokes are represented by a red awareness ribbon. To order a custom red awareness ribbon, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/red-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=stroke

#stroke #brain #awareness #saves #lives #strokeawareness #disability #survivor #ischemicstroke #highbloodpressure #highcholesterol #quitsmoking #cancerribbon #cancerribbons #awarenessribbon #awarenessribbons #actfast

Brain Tumor Awareness Month

Personalized Cause

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Go Gray in May!

Gather ‘round, everyone, it’s time for another edition of the awareness blog! Today’s topic is a very important one, especially to us, here at Personalized Cause. So, today’s post is dedicated to a beloved member of our family, gone but not forgotten. I truly hope that nobody reading this post ever needs to use the information to follow, but if you do, I hope from the bottom of my heart that this post leads to early detection and diagnosis, so that the prognosis is as good as possible. And with that, we’ll begin.

Today’s awareness blog topic is in honor of Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Brain tumors need a lot more than just one month of awareness raising, but there’s no such thing as an awareness year, yet, so this will have to do. A friend of a friend just lost her perfectly healthy husband in his early 40’s. In only a matter of months he went from the picture of health to hospice. That’s why awareness for brain tumors is so crucial, because finding and treating it early can be the difference between life and death. I don’t mean to scare anyone at all, only to iterate how critical it is to know the symptoms and warning signs.

What is a brain tumor? Tumor simply means a mass of abnormal cell growth. Tumors are not always cancerous, or dangerous. There are lots of tumors that are benign, or harmless, and sometimes they don’t even need to be removed. With the brain, however, even a benign tumor in the wrong place can cause problems. But today, we’re focusing on malignant, in other words cancerous, brain tumors. Malignant brain tumors often grow much quicker than benign tumors, making them a particularly progressive and aggressive cancer. Although brain tumors rarely metastasize, meaning that they spread to other organs, they do invade surrounding brain tissue very fast, and may spread to the central nervous system.

One of the trickiest things about detecting a brain tumor early is recognizing the symptoms, because symptoms vary greatly depending on where the tumor is located and what type of tumor it is. The general symptoms of a brain tumor are:

• Persistent, recurring headaches that do not respond to normal headache treatments, such as over the counter pain or migraine medicines. It is very important to note that most headaches are not a tumor. A headache is usually not cause for concern. If you are experiencing frequent headaches in combination with other general symptoms, then it’s a good idea to be seen by your medical provider ASAP. Even then, there are many other health issues that the symptoms could be attributed to.

• Dizziness and fainting, especially in people who do not normally experience dizziness or fainting. (I know that it seems strange to consider dizziness or fainting a normal thing for anyone to experience regularly. I say that because there are a lot of people out there with other medical issues who do experience dizziness or fainting somewhat regularly. For example, I have something called POTS, which means I deal with those symptoms pretty frequently. If I were to experience dizziness or fainting accompanied by a headache, it wouldn’t be particularly worrisome. It’s all about what is unusual to the person. Everyone’s normal is different. Recognizing the symptoms that are outside a person’s normal is key to detection.)

• Vomiting, especially when unexplained and it occurs intermittently over a duration longer than that of a typical cold or flu.

• Motor function impairment is a more serious indication that something is wrong. Sudden motor impairment such as difficulty speaking, walking, or balancing should be evaluated by a doctor.

• Sensory perception changes are another symptom, although many senses naturally get worse as we age. Again, the key here is sudden or unusual changes. This may include a sudden change in vision or need for glasses, a sudden change in hearing, or changes in your ability to taste, smell, or feel (through touch).

• Unexplained paralysis in part of the body, or unexplained weakness in part of the body. You should see a doctor for those symptoms, because they can indicate a wide range of problems not related to a brain tumor.

• Seizures. Always see a doctor if you have experienced a seizure and do not have an already diagnosed medical issue that causes seizures.

• Changes in mood, personality, or thought process. This can manifest in sudden impulsivity, or recklessness, depression, uncontrollable laughter, memory problems, concentration problems, etc.

• Abnormal breathing or pulse. Because the brain regulates breathing and pulse, they can be affected, as all autonomic nervous system functions can be, potentially.

What should you do if you notice these changes in yourself or others? Well, you should definitely see a doctor! Duh! Many of these symptoms can be due to other medical issues, but that’s not an excuse to not be evaluated. The thing about a lot of these symptoms is that they indicate that something is wrong in the CNS, ANS, or brain. Many of these symptoms can occur from autoimmune diseases, as well. No matter what the cause, these symptoms can be warning signs that require treatment in order to prevent further damage or illness. And, of course, this should go without saying, but annual physicals are very important. Routine physicals can give you a baseline for your health, to determine when something is new or different. Physicals can also show general health trends, which can predict future health concerns.

If you’re like a lot of other people, the fear of diagnostic testing can be a total deterrent from making that doctors appointment to get looked at, and as we know, the longer you put off seeing a doctor, the worse the outcome may be. So, what I want to do is go over what many of the diagnostic tools are so that it takes the fear of the unknown out of the picture. Knowing what to expect can seriously help reduce anxiety regarding doctor visits.

The first step in diagnosing any illness is a comprehensive physical. THIS IS A PAINLESS PROCESS! I cannot stress that enough. The worst part about these kinds of physicals is just answering a million questions, and doing a little digging with relatives to find out your family health history prior to the appointment.

They will preform a neurological exam, too, to look for any noticeable signs decreased function. The worst part with those is having a light shined in your eyes, or being cold in your paper gown.

If the doctor suspects there may be a brain tumor, or maybe just to be safe, they will order a CT scan or an MRI. These scans are pretty easy-peasy, and the biggest complaint with them is that they are loud and it may be a tad claustrophobic for some.

Next step in diagnostics is an MRA, or possibly an angiogram. These work by giving the patient some dye so that can use X-rays to image the brain and see blood flow or abnormal blood vessels. This can tell doctors a lot about a brain tumor. As far as angiograms go, they’re not the best and they’re not the worst. Basically, the worst part is just that they have to make a small incision in your arm or leg to thread a catheter into so that they can release the dye. Other than that it’s just a lot of X-rays and imagine. MRA’s are a lot like MRI’s but they are more specifically designed for blood vessel imaging.

The last diagnostic test, which isn’t always ordered, is a biopsy. This is on the scarier side, as far as tests go, just because it involves actually going into the brain to take out a sample of the tumor to determine if it is malignant or benign. As far as your experience with the test, either you will be sedated or numbed, and shouldn’t feel anything.

There you have it; a basic overview of possible symptoms of a brain tumor, what to do if you have those symptoms, and what testing may occur. I hope that all this information is never needed, and that you all go on to live perfectly healthy, and happy lives. If you do end up needing it, I hope this post helps you in some way. Remember, early detection is key. In the wise words of Spock, “live long and prosper!” If you are new to our awareness blog, let me tell you a little about who we are and why we’ve started this blog. Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory company that specializes in custom awareness ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a product unique to our company, which allow you to personalize the awareness ribbon color of your choice with any name, date, phrase or message. Custom awareness ribbon pins are a beautiful way to show support, advocate for yourself and others, and raise awareness for whatever cause is close to your heart. We also carry classic awareness ribbons, fabric awareness ribbons, and silicone wristbands.

Personalized Cause started this blog in an effort to raise awareness for as many illnesses as possible. We hope that our readers learn something that helps them to prevent illness in their lives, or helps them to recognize signs or symptoms early so that they are diagnosed early. Prevention and early diagnosis are key to living your best possible life, and we just want you to be happy and healthy forever. We also hope to correct a lot of misinformation and misconceptions out there associated with illnesses or causes, in an effort to end stigma and contribute to a more understanding and accepting culture. We hope you’ll come back next week!

Brain tumors are represented by a gray awareness ribbon. To order a gray custom awareness ribbon, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/gray-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=brain%20tumor

#braincancer #brain #tumor #gograyinmay #cancer #awareness #braintumor #braintumorawareness #awarenessribbon #cancerribbon #grayribbon

Stroke Awareness Month

Personalized Cause

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May is Stroke Awareness Month!

Guess what time it is, ya’ll? That’s right, it’s time for another edition of the awareness blog! I know you’ve all been waiting anxiously and refreshing the feed every hour, on the hour, since the last one. Nothing more exciting than learning about illnesses and diseases, I know.

Today’s blog will discuss Strokes, because guess what… there’s a lot you need to know about them in order to prevent them or recognize them. But first, I gotta give you my schpiel at the beginning of each blog (feel free to skip to the good part if you already know our deal) until people get the hang of our blog and our business.

Personalized Cause is an awareness ribbon company that specializes in custom awareness ribbons. We are the #1 source for personalized awareness pins in the United States, for personal orders (rather than bulk orders). We carry an assortment of other awareness ribbons and awareness wristbands. We decided to start this blog in order to raise awareness for all of the causes out there. Obviously, we know we probably won’t get to all of them, as there are more causes in the world than we could possibly cover. We hope to cover as many of the big ones as possible, though, in order to raise awareness, educate the public, and help to prevent any disease, illness, or event that we can. Our goal is to make all of our readers into advocates, and socially aware people, who just might pass that knowledge onto someone who needs it. We’re trying to do a pay it forward thing with medical and social knowledge. We’d like to save the world, but we know that task is more than we can achieve, so we’re doing the next best thing within our scope. We are empowering you all to go forth with what you learn here and make a difference where you can with the information we give you.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it! (People skipping our little intro, start reading here.)

Stroke is a terrible, awful, no good disease. If you’re thinking, a stroke isn’t a disease, you’re not alone there. Most people think of it as an event, like a heart attack, more than a disease. It is in fact classified as a disease, though.

So what exactly is a stroke? We’ve all heard of them, but we may not know exactly what they are, aside from the fact that they are bad. A stroke affects the brain. They occur when blood vessels or arteries in the brain become blocked or clogged by a clot, or when the blood vessel ruptures as a result. When a blood vessel (or artery, from now on when I refer to blood vessel, that includes arteries) becomes clogged or blocked by blood clot, pressure builds behind the clog. The body continues to pump the blood, causing the pressure behind it to build and build. That pressure eventually becomes strong enough to force through the wall of the blood vessel. Whether the clot causes a rupture of the blood vessel, or is simply blocking off the blood flow, it causes the brain to stop receiving oxygen and nutrients through that pathway. When the brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, the brain cells begin to die. As a result, brain damage occurs, and permanent damage can be done. This is the reason that Stroke is the #5 cause of death in the United States, and one of the top causes of disability. Every 40 seconds that pass, somebody has a stroke, and every four minutes someone dies of a stroke. If you think it can’t happen to you, think again, because they can happen to anyone, and at any age, and that includes during childhood. But, here comes an important point… as much as 80 percent of strokes can be prevented, and the severity of the damage that is caused by a stroke can be dramatically reduced if the warning signs are recognized and the person gets treatment immediately.

Not all strokes are the same. There are hemorrhagic strokes and ischemic strokes. Lets take a closer look at each of them, shall we.

First up, hemorrhagic strokes are when a blood clot (also known as an aneurysm) bursts, or causes a leak. Think of a pipe. If a blockage occurs in a pipe, one of two things will happen. Either the pipe will completely burst, or the pipe will slowly leak. In both scenarios, you’re looking at a serious problem that requires professional attention immediately, in order to minimize the amount of damage done. The buildup of pressure from the excess blood in the brain (from the burst or leak) results in swelling and pressure in the brain. When swelling or pressure build up in the brain, it damages the cells and brain tissue. Only about 15% of strokes that occur are hemorrhagic, however, they account for around 40 percent of deaths caused by a stroke. They’re less common, but they’re more dangerous.

Now, there are two kinds of hemorrhagic stroke, and they are called intracerebral and subarachnoid. The first and most common kind of hemorrhagic stroke is intracerebral hemorrhage. This kind of stroke is most commonly caused by high blood pressure and weakened blood vessels due to age, but it can also occur due to a genetic condition that causes an abnormal connection between arteries and veins in the brain or spine. This condition is called AVM, or arteriovenous malformation, and can be treated. Intracerebral hemorrhage is when the blood leaks or pools in the brain, causing cell death and the affected area of the brain stops working. The second kind of hemorrhagic stroke is the subarachnoid stroke. This occurs in the area between the actual brain itself, and the tissue that covers the brain. It is most commonly caused by an aneurysm that bursts.

Next up, the ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke occurs when the affected blood vessel is blocked. The blood clot that creates the blockage prevents blood from travelling to where it needs to go in the brain. When the blood is prevented from reaching parts of the brain, the cells die. Ischemic strokes account for the vast majority of all strokes. Again, blood pressure is the biggest cause of this type of stroke. These types of stroke can happen in two ways, called embolic and thrombotic. An embolic stroke is when either a blood clot or plaque build up forms in the body somewhere else, but usually in the heart, and then makes it’s way through the blood vessels into the brain. Because the blood vessels go from large (in the heart) and get smaller and smaller as they move into the brain, the clot or plaque buildup eventually reaches a point where it gets stuck and cant move any further, and causes an ischemic stroke. A thrombotic stroke occurs when the blood clot develops inside one of the arteries leading to the brain. Thrombotic strokes are usually caused by high cholesterol or atherosclerosis.

Okay, now that you understand exactly how they work and the differences in kinds of stroke, lets look at the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke. Remember, especially parents, a blood clot can be formed from a run of the mill injury, so it’s important to be able to recognize the signs in children, too.

There is a trick to being able to remember what symptoms to look for to identify a stroke. It’s called “act FAST.” A lot of people panic in emergency situations and don’t remember what they’ve learned, so this trick helps people remember what to check for. If you identify these symptoms, call 911 immediately! Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just get an ambulance there as fast as possible. The faster medical attention is received, the better the outcome will be.

F- F stands for face. Is the person experiencing facial drooping? Ask them to smile to assess.

A- A stands for arms. Have the person raise both arms out in front of them. Are they able to keep both arms level?

S- S stands for speech. Ask the person to repeat a sentence or phrase to you. Do they sound strange or are they slurring?

T- T stands for time, as in there is none to waste. So, if the person is exhibiting any of the symptoms above… call 911, as fast as humanly possible.

It is also important to write down what time the first symptom or signs appeared. Think back on the day, did the person experience any unusual muscle weakness, or perhaps fall? Try to remember if anything unusual happened, even if it didn’t seem like a big deal. Write it on your arm, text it to yourself, repeat it to yourself over and over like a mantra until the paramedics arrive. The timing can determine some treatment options and decisions.

That’s all she wrote. (I hope at least one of you laughed at that total dad joke.) Thank you for reading and I sincerely hope none of you ever need to use the information we discussed today. Better safe than sorry, though, am I right?!

There are two versions of awareness pins for stroke. Red awareness ribbons are used to raise awareness for stroke, but there is a special pin designed to raise awareness for childhood stroke (or pediatric stroke.) Purple and blue awareness ribbons are used to raise awareness for pediatric stroke.

Here are links to both of the custom awareness pins. For custom awareness pins for stroke (the red awareness ribbon), visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/red-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=stroke

For custom awareness pins for pediatric stroke (the purple and blue awareness ribbon), visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/purple-and-blue-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=stroke

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