Is it a Migraine?
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Your head hurts -- is it a migraine? This type of headache comes with very specific symptoms -- watch this video to learn about the signs of a migraine.
Transcript: Nearly 28 million Americans suffer from Migraine Headache each year. But what exactly is a migraine...
Nearly 28 million Americans suffer from Migraine Headache each year. But what exactly is a migraine headache? Migraines are disabling, painful, recurring, headaches that are often, but not always, one-sided. Migraines have had a dramatic impact on both American history and culture. During the Civil War both Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, the generals leading the armies of both the Confederacy and the Union, suffered from prolonged and repeated migraine headaches. As well, Thomas Jefferson, endured migraines while helping to author the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. Elvis Presley, the King of Rock & Roll, was also a migraine sufferer. In fact, contemporary doctors have suggested that much of The King's well publicized drug use was actually an attempt to self-medicate his headaches, as opposed to a hedonistic pursuit. Determining if you have a migraine headache can be tricky. Patients experience a wide variety of symptoms associated with their migraine headaches, which means that there is no such thing as a "typical" migraine. However, when suffering from migraine headache, people generally are sick to their stomach and often vomit. There are a number of other symptoms that are commonly experienced by migraine sufferers. Migraine headaches typically begin as a dull ache, and progress into a throbbing pain. Typical migraines last roughly 4 to 12 hours, although particularly bad migraines can last as long as a week. When a patient is suffering from a migraine headache, they often are very sensitive to light, sounds, and certain odors; Also, many migraine sufferers have difficulty thinking and feel off balance. If one or more of these symptoms is present, (especially inability to function or nausea) it is likely that the headache sufferer is having a migraine. These symptoms are quite different than the symptoms of other common types of headache. About 20% of migraine patients also experience an "aura" before or during their headache. An aura is a physiological warning sign that a migraine headache is about to begin. When patients experience visual auras they often see bright spots or jagged lines. Some patients have sensory auras; pins and needles feelings that start in the hand and move up the arm. Rarely patients have scent-related auras, where they smell something which isn't there. Auras are the classic symptom of migraine - if you are experiencing an aura prior to the onset of your headache, it is very likely that you are suffering from migraine headaches. Today, there are a number of treatments that can provide effective, lasting relief for migraine headache sufferers. To learn about medications which can prevent you from getting migraines as well as medications capable of controlling the attack after it begins, be sure to check out the other short videos available in this series. Remember, migraines can be difficult to self-diagnose, so if you believe that you have migraine then your first step is to see a physician with an interest in headache. The movies in this series can be viewed in any order. If you wish to watch these clips in their original sequence, then the next clip is, "Migraine Auras: Through the Looking Glass."More »
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Understanding the signs of a migraine aura can be a blessing in disguise since it can warn you that a migraine attack is coming, helping you treat it faster. Learn more!
Transcript: For the unprepared, experiencing a migraine aura can be an unsettling and confusing experience. But...
For the unprepared, experiencing a migraine aura can be an unsettling and confusing experience. But today, we understand more than we ever have about auras. An aura is often a warning sign that a migraine headache is about to begin. Auras begin up to an hour before the headache starts, and are typically 30 minutes to an hour long. Although less than 30% of migraine headache sufferers experience an aura, some patients have been known to develop auras after years of migraine headaches, so every migraine sufferer should know about them. If you don't know what an aura is like, you might start by looking at paintings by Pablo Picasso. Patients who have experienced visual auras say that they are "phenomenally similar" to Picasso's cubist pieces. It is widely speculated that Pablo Picasso suffered from migraine with aura, and that those auras provided some of the inspiration for his groundbreaking new style of artwork. Physiologically, an aura is due to changes that take place in the cortex, the outer layer of the brain. When a person begins to develop an aura, it is believed that activity in nerve cells in one part of the cortex become first become excited and then become depressed. With time the change in activity spreads across the cortex, impairing the function of the body parts controlled by these cells. Auras can take on many forms, but the most common auras are visual, which produce a change, illusion, or distortion in sight. What is common to most auras is that they move or grow with time. Rarely, patients who experience visual auras will report incredibly detailed hallucinations. Lewis Carroll, who is best remembered as the author of Alice in Wonderland, was a migraine headache sufferer who famously experienced hallucinogenic auras. In fact, many of Alice's bizarre experiences in the book were actually descriptions of auras that Lewis Carroll had experienced. Sensations of rapidly shrinking or growing larger, double vision, and an impaired sense of time, all colorfully illustrated by Alice's adventures, are rare migraine aura symptoms. In fact, they have actually come to be known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Not all auras are visual. For some people, an aura manifests itself as numbness or a pins-and-needles sensation in the hand that can move into the arm and tongue. Other patients experiencing an aura can hear a persistent buzzing sound or even lose their hearing for brief periods of time. Because auras almost always immediately precede a migraine headache, they can actually help patients to avoid migraine headaches. Patients with aura can anticipate the onset of a migraine, and use abortive medications to avoid them. Voiceover: The movies in this series can be viewed in any order. If you wish to watch these clips in their original sequence, then the next clip is, "Chocolate, Chinese Food & Storm Fronts: Identifying YOUR Headache Triggers,"More »
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These throbbing headaches often come with warning symptoms, but have you ever traced the cause of your migraine attacks? Watch the video to find out about migraine triggers.
Transcript: Sometimes a migraine headache seems to come out of nowhere. But could something actually be setting...
Sometimes a migraine headache seems to come out of nowhere. But could something actually be setting them off? Although migraine headaches are actually caused by physical changes in the brain, nearly 85% of migraine sufferers report that certain foods or environmental changes can "trigger" a headache. Even though there are a number of commonly recognized triggers, each trigger affects individual patients differently. There are a number of foods that are recognized as headache triggers. One common trigger is alcoholic beverages, especially red wine, which contains tannins. Caffeine withdrawal is also prone to set off headaches, which is why overuse of caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda can trigger a migraine. Also, MSG, a spice found most commonly in Chinese food, can initiate a migraine headache in some patients. Although there is a popular perception that chocolate plays a role in initiating migraine headaches, many experts now believe that chocolate is not actually a migraine trigger. Rather the desire to eat chocolate is a sign of an impending migraine attack. In addition to eating these particular foods, missing a meal can also initiate a headache. But food is by no means the only kind of headache trigger. Significant changes in weather, such as an approaching storm front, also commonly precede migraines. There are actually hundreds of different triggers that patients have reported. Some other frequently reported triggers include intense stress, bright light, cigarette smoke, the scent of perfumes and cleaning products, menstruation, and rapid changes in temperature. It is important to remember that very few of these reported triggers will actually start a headache for any particular person. In fact, most patients have three or fewer triggers, and one very effective way to prevent headaches is to identify these triggers and avoid them. If you want to identify what your triggers are, one very useful tool is the headache diary. Frequent headache sufferers should start with a blank notebook, and put the date at the top of each page. Each day you should record the weather, everything you eat, any stressful events, or anything else that seems significant to you, as well as the time, strength, and duration of any headaches. Once you've recorded several headaches, look at the entries you made on those days. Are there items in common? If there are, you may have identified one of your headache triggers. Try to avoid that trigger, and see if that helps reduce your headache frequency. The movies in this series can be viewed in any order. If you wish to watch these clips in their original sequence, then the next clip is, "Stop Your Migraine Before it Stops You: Abortive Medicines," which discusses how certain medications can be used at the onset of headaches to prevent them from developing. The clip recounts the story of how these medications helped a professional football player to remain in the Super Bowl despite getting a migraine during the game.More »
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Abortive medication can dramatically reduce and manage if not completely stop your migraine headache for good. Find out more about it in this video.
Transcript: When people are suffering from a migraine they just want their pain to subside and their headache to...
When people are suffering from a migraine they just want their pain to subside and their headache to go away. But what if there was a way to stop migraine headaches right when they started? Abortive medications, when used at the onset of a migraine headache, can halt the processes that cause headache. These drugs can provide profound relief for migraine sufferers by preventing the pain and nausea which occur when the headache is allowed to continue. A prime example of this occurred in Super Bowl 32, when Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis got a migraine headache during the second quarter and an abortive medication stopped his headache and had him back in the game by the start of the second half - just 45 minutes later. In recent years, new medications have been made available that are highly effective at stopping migraines. There are two types of abortive medications, those that are specifically for migraine and others that are non-specific, and can be used both for migraine and other pain disorders. Triptans are a new class of drugs designed specifically to treat migraine. DHE-45 is the brand name for dihydroergotamine, which is an older medication that can be taken as either an injection or a nasal spray. Both the triptans and DHE-45 are extremely effective in treating migraine. Notably, patients who experience aura can take these abortive medications during the aura, but only in the nasal or oral form, not as an injection. Although not as effective as the triptans and DHE, many over-the-counter drugs have abortive properties which are non-specific to Migraine. Drugs like Excedrin, Motrin, and Aleve, are all known to be effective in treating migraines. The effectiveness of abortive treatment was showcased in a recent Super Bowl. When Terrell Davis, the star running back for the Denver Broncos, felt a migraine headache coming on during the second quarter of Super Bowl 32, he went to the locker room and treated himself with DHE. When he returned to the field for the second half, ready to bang heads with the Green Bay linebackers, he was able to play at his peak - and he was awarded the Super Bowl MVP for his efforts. If a headache progresses and becomes a full-blown migraine, it can be extremely painful. Patients often use prescription narcotic pain relievers like demerol, codeine, and dilaudid to combat migraine pain, but these medications, unlike the triptans, often have severe side effects like nausea and sleepiness. Also, it is extremely important to note that overuse of narcotic pain relievers can lead to more headaches. If you think you are suffering from migraine headaches and could benefit from one of these treatment options, please see a doctor with an interest in migraine today.More »
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Even though migraines are not life threatening, they can be debilitating. There are many migraine remedies that can help you. Learn about them from our video.
Transcript: While science hasn't discovered a cure for migraine headaches, breakthroughs in preventive therapy allow...
While science hasn't discovered a cure for migraine headaches, breakthroughs in preventive therapy allow many patients to significantly reduce, or even eliminate their migraine headaches. But what are preventive medications, and how exactly do they work? Preventive medications, usually taken on a daily basis, can reduce or even eliminate most migraine attacks. Attacks which occur while on preventive medications are usually milder and easier to treat. There are a number of different kinds of preventive therapy, each of which works in a slightly different way. Most preventive medicines work by inhibiting the brain hyperexcitability that is commonly believed to be the source of migraine aura and headache. Beta-blockers are commonly prescribed for patients with high blood pressure or chest pain and also are effective at reducing brain excitability. Some antidepressants are also effective treatments for migraine. For example, Elavil works to increase brain serotonin and norepinephrine. Many of the drugs used to treat epilepsy are effective in migraine treatment. Two of these drugs, Depakote and Topamax, are approved by the FDA. In clinical trials, almost half of the Depakote patients and more than half of Topmax patients saw at least a 50% reduction in their migraine headaches. In addition, Topamax is associated with weight loss. While these drugs all work by directly affecting brain excitability, they do it in different ways. Some therapies work by regulating the serotonin levels in the brain. For example, antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil regulate serotonin that might trigger a migraine attack. Topamax, which is the most prescribed brand for migraine prevention in the United States, works in a significantly different manner than all of the other therapies. Nerve cells in the brain communicate with chemical messengers called neurotransmitters When these nerve cells get excited, they may release too much of their transmitters. Some researchers believe that this triggers a migraine cascade. Topamax keeps many different excitable nerve cells in the brain calm, which lowers the chance of a migraine cascade starting. This can help to significantly reduce the number of migraine attacks that you get. Preventative therapy is the most effective ways to treat people who suffer from frequent migraine or even tension headaches. Although this type of therapy isn't a cure, it can reduce the number of headaches that a patient gets by more than 50%, sometimes eliminating them altogether. If you think you are suffering from migraine headaches and could benefit from one or more of these treatment options, please see a doctor with an interest in migraine today. The movies in this series can be viewed in any order. The videos which preceded this one discuss the cause of headache, migraine auras, identifying and avoiding headache triggers, and abortive therapies. If you'd like to learn more about these topics, please view the appropriate movie.More »
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Fioricet is effective against chronic tension headaches. Watch this video to learn about Fioricet ingredients and side effects.
Transcript: Fioricet is the brand name for the compound that contains acetaminophen, caffeine, and butalbital, which...
Fioricet is the brand name for the compound that contains acetaminophen, caffeine, and butalbital, which is a barbiturate. The compound was approved by the FDA in 1984. Butalbital with acetaminophen and caffeine is available only with a prescription, both as a generic drug and under the brand name Fioricet. Butalbital is a member of the barbiturate family. Here's how butalbital works: GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter found in the brain. When butalbital enters the brain, it binds to a receptor on the GABA transmitter, increasing inhibition and creating a relaxing effect. When butalbital is combined with caffeine and acetaminophen-which relieves pain-it forms a compound that is used to treat chronic tension headaches. Fioricet is taken orally in capsule or tablet form. Each dose contains fifty milligrams of butalbital, five-hundred milligrams of acetaminophen and forty milligrams of caffeine.This medication should be taken with a full glass of water. Because butalbital can be addictive, it is important not to take this compound more than two days per week. The most common side effects of butalbital include drowsiness, dizziness and shortness of breath, but you should ask your doctor for a complete list.Also, be sure to tell your physician immediately if you experience an allergic reaction, yellowing skin or any other significant changes. Butalbital with acetaminophen and caffeine should not be taken in conjunction with alcohol or other sedatives. Additionally, use caffeine and acetaminophen products sparingly to avoid an overdose. Ask your doctor for a full list of medications and conditions that should not be combined with this compound. Fioricet can be helpful for patients who suffer from tension headaches. However, the medication should always be used under the direct care of a physician. Please ask for and review all of the information provided by your doctor before taking this medications. The information in this video is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise of your physician. Always consult your doctor before using this drug.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-17 | Tags »
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Persistent tremors are just one symptom of Parkinson's Disease. Understand Parkinson's Disease better by watching this video about its risk factors, symptoms and treatments.
Transcript: Is that persistent tremor just a normal sign of aging, or could it be something more serious?... Could...
Is that persistent tremor just a normal sign of aging, or could it be something more serious?... Could it be Parkinson's disease? More than 1.5 million Americans suffer from the degenerative movement disorder known as Parkinson's disease. Although the disease is currently incurable, it is not fatal. Parkinson's primarily affects the elderly, with almost all diagnosis' being made after the age of 60. In fact, just 15 percent of patients experience Parkinson's symptoms before age 50. Parkinson's disease is not new. In fact, it has been around for centuries. The symptoms of Parkinson's were first described in ancient Indian and Chinese texts, where the recommended treatment was a series of herbal preparations. The disorder was formally recognized in 1817, when British physician James Parkinson published an essay cataloging the symptoms. He called the disease "paralysis agitans," but fellow doctors soon coined the disease Parkinson's. Today, scientists understand that Parkinson's disease results, in part, from a shortage of the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine stimulates receptors in the basal ganglia, a part of the brain that controls motor functions and emotions. Normal brain stimulation results in good nerve cell function, and normal movements. In people with Parkinson's, however, 70 percent or more of these dopamine cells have died, reducing the amount of dopamine in the system. As a result, movement becomes very difficult. Classic Parkinson's symptoms include tremors, difficulty balancing, stiff limbs and slower movements. Some patients experience decreased facial movement, including trouble blinking and swallowing. The cause of Parkinson's is unknown, although scientists do suspect both genetics and exposure to environmental toxins may play a role. In rare cases, head trauma, stroke or prescription antipsychotic medications may also contribute to the onset of symptoms. Although Parkinson's disease is progressive, people who have it can still lead fulfilling, productive lives. Just look at three-time World Heavyweight Champion, Muhammad Ali. Since his diagnosis in the mid 1980s, Ali has written a book, started a line of healthy snack food and traveled the world for humanitarian aid projects. Actor Michael J. Fox hasn't let Parkinson's get in the way of his career, either, starring in more than 20 feature films and television series since he began experiencing symptoms in the early 1990s. The actor is also an advocate for people with the disease, and has created The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Although the degenerative disease known as Parkinson's is not curable, there are a number of treatments that can help sufferers lead healthy lives. So please...talk to your doctor if you have concerns about Parkinson'sMore »
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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By understanding Alzheimer's disease the condition can be easier to manage. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: There are over 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer's disease...a number that is expected to rise to...
There are over 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer's disease...a number that is expected to rise to 14 million by 2050! So what IS Alzheimer's disease? Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disorder that gradually destroys memory and cognitive functioning. There is no cure for Alzheimer's and it eventually results in death. Alzheimer's is fairly new to medical literature. The first case was recorded by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, in 1901. Dr. Alzheimer noted changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had this disease. He found both amyloid plaques, or irregular clumps, and neurofibrillary tangles, or bunched up fibers, in his patient's brain. Today, doctors agree that both these physical changes are typical of Alzheimer's. Doctors have also learned that patients' nerve cells die and nerve connections are disrupted, leading to decreased memory and thinking. Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia, a group of disorders in which loss of brain cells leads to diminished mental function. Symptoms vary by individual and the progression of the disease, but most people with Alzheimer's experience degenerative memory loss and difficulty performing basic tasks. Many people with the disease often experience behavioral changes, rapid mood swings and loss of initiative. These symptoms, which are characteristic of the disease, can strike anyone. In 1994, former President Ronald Reagan joined the ranks of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Because he knew the condition would destroy his cognitive functioning, President Reagan spent the last years of his life in isolation with his wife, Nancy. In 2004, Reagan died of Alzheimer's disease at 93-years of age. Scientists haven't yet found a "reason" why brain cells fail and amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles develop. But there are several factors that can increase a person's chance of developing this disease. The greatest risk factor is age. Most people with the disease are 65 or older. For people over 85, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease rises to almost 50 percent! Another risk factor is the patient's family history. Those who have a grandparent, parent, or sibling with Alzheimer's are more likely to develop the condition themselves. Similarly, scientists know that genes play a role in the disease. There are currently two genes that have been identified as leading to Alzheimer's. A strong link between head injury and Alzheimer's disease has also been established. Brain health is connected to heart health, so high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and stroke can all increase the chances of developing this form of dementia. Because Alzheimer's can strike anyone, it's important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors, and to seek immediate treatment if you are experiencing abnormal memory loss or sudden personality changes.More »
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As one progress through the stages of alzheimer’s disease it can become more difficult to cope. Watch the video to know more about the pattern it follows.
Transcript: Alzheimer's disease is degenerative, which means it becomes worse over time. Learn what to expect as...
Alzheimer's disease is degenerative, which means it becomes worse over time. Learn what to expect as Alzheimer's progresses. Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disorder which usually occurs in people over 65. Alzheimer's is fatal when the body ceases to function due to a complication of the disease, such as pneumonia. This disease can last anywhere from three to twenty years, averaging about seven to eight. The first sign is memory loss, followed by personality changes, and progressing to a loss of control over bodily functions. These changes gradually happen, in a generally distinguishable set of stages. In the early, or mild, stages of Alzheimer's, symptoms are not immediately evident. Then, a patient will begin to suffer small memory lapses, such as forgetting the names of familiar places or people. These initial changes can be mistaken for normal signs of aging. However, the decline in cognitive functioning is much more rapid and more severe in people with the disease. As Alzheimer's progresses, the afflicted individual may experience confusion about everyday tasks and people. They often become disoriented about time and place and tend to exercise poor judgment. More than 40 percent of people with early-stage Alzheimer's exhibit apathy about their life and condition. People with early-stage Alzheimer's can often continue living as they have been for some time, particularly when prescription medication is taken. However, the ability to live independently may be lost as an individual enters mid-stage Alzheimer's. At this point, patients often lose cognitive function rapidly, forgetting recent events and even their personal history. They may have trouble sorting out the names and faces of familiar people, and often forget personal information, like their home address or telephone number. Mid-stage Alzheimer's patients experience personality changes, as well, often becoming withdrawn. In addition, they may exhibit paranoid behavior and can even have hallucinations. People with mid-stage Alzheimer's have an increasing dependence on others, and may need help eating, dressing, grooming and using the toilet. Gradually, control of bodily function begins to decline as a person enters late-stage Alzheimer's. People in the late stage require round-the-clock care. Patients with late-stage Alzheimer's usually won't recognize others, or even know their own name. They can no longer communicate or move around without assistance. As Alzheimer's runs its course, the body slowly shuts down, and a resulting medical condition, like pneumonia, will lead to death. Although Alzheimer's disease is fatal, prescription medications can often help patients to maintain their quality of life for longer periods of time. The personality changes, cognitive lapses and eventual demise of a person with Alzheimer's disease are extremely difficult on both patients and their loved ones. For this reason, it is important to seek guidance and support from a doctor and care team.More »
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Although there is no permanent cure for Alzheimer, there are a number of methods used for treating Alzheimer's disease and its symptoms. Watch in this video.
Transcript: The memory loss typical of Alzheimer's disease can be devastating, both to the individuals affected and...
The memory loss typical of Alzheimer's disease can be devastating, both to the individuals affected and to their family and friends. Luckily, some treatments may help. Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder of the elderly that currently has no cure. Still, medication options and non-drug treatment strategies can help patients and their families deal with its symptoms and consequences. Until recently, the only FDA-approved Alzheimer's drugs were the cholinesterase inhibitors. Today, these medications are marketed under the brand names Aricept, Exelon and Razadyne. Cholinesterase inhibitors prevent the breakdown of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is important in the memory and thinking process. Unfortunately, cholinesterase inhibitors only work in about half of the people who try them, and they may lose their effectiveness as Alzheimer's disease progresses. In addition, these medications can have significant side effects, including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Several years ago, a new drug called memantine, sold under the brand name Namenda, was approved to treat moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer's. Memantine is a drug that protects the brain from overexposure to glutamate, a normal neurotransmitter that, in excess, contributes to the death of brain cells in people with Alzheimer's. The medication's most common side effect is dizziness, although it can also increase agitation and delusional behavior in some patients. While treating Alzheimer's disease is important, it can also be beneficial to treat its symptoms. Patients in all stages of Alzheimer's may experience psychiatric symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, agitation, irritability, and hallucinations. Generally, these behaviors are managed by identifying the behavior and its cause and then adapting the patient's environment to improve the situation. Often, the trigger for these symptoms is a change in the person's environment, such as hospitalization or travel. Treatment usually focuses on redirecting the patient's attention, often by simplifying routines or allowing rest between stimulating events. However, if behavioral symptoms persist, a doctor may prescribe medication to treat a patient's particular symptoms. Some common ailments that doctors medicate for include... General blue moods and irritability, which are treated with antidepressants, like Prozac or Zoloft.... Anxiety, restlessness and disruptive behavior, which are treated with anxiolytics, like Ativan and Serax.... And hallucination, aggression and uncooperativeness, which are treated with antipsychotic medications, like Haldol and Risperdal. Sleep aids may be prescribed for Alzheimer's patients who experience night terrors, or who are not sleeping well. Common options include Lunesta and Ambien. But even with the best treatment, medications, and care, Alzheimer's disease is progressive, and will continue to worsen with time. That's why scientists are hard at work to uncover new treatments that may benefit the Alzheimer's community. It's vitally important for people with Alzheimer's to have the support of family, friends and professional caregivers as they deal with the consequences of the disease. Talk to your doctor about the best possible treatment plan!More »
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A stroke occurs when there is an interruption of blood supply in a brain. But how much do you know about stroke risk factors, causes and treatments? Get a better understanding of stroke in this video.
Transcript: About 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke each yearthats one stroke every 45 seconds! And yet, many people...
About 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke each yearthats one stroke every 45 seconds! And yet, many people dont even know what a stroke IS. A stroke is a brain attack that occurs when there is an interruption in the cerebral blood supply, resulting in the death of cells and some brain damage. When cells die during a stroke, skills controlled by that area of the brain are lost. The ability to move, feel, speak or remember can be affected. How a stroke affects a person depends on what part of the brain is afflicted and how much damage results. Ischemic strokes account for about 83 percent of cases. They occur when clots form within the arteries that supply blood to the head. The blockage of blood results in insufficient oxygen getting to that part of the brain. Ischemic strokes can be divided into two subtypes: embolic and thrombotic. An embolic stroke occurs when a blood clot forms elsewhere in the body and a portion of the clot breaks off, traveling to the blood vessels of the brain. The clot continues its journey until it reaches vessels too small to let it pass. At this point, the clot gets lodged, blocking the blood vessel and causing an embolic stroke. Say the words Richard Nixon, and embolic stroke is NOT what comes to mindwere more likely to think of Vietnam and Watergate. But Nixon DID have a deadly embolic stroke, which occurred when a clot in his heart traveled to his brain. The other type of ischemic stroke, a thrombotic stroke, can also be deadly. In this stroke, blood flow is halted due to a local blood clot, known as a thrombus, which develops in an artery supplying blood to the brain. Ischemic strokes are the most common type, but hemorrhagic strokes, which make up to 17 percent of cases, are often more dangerous. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain, compressing the brain tissue. Hemorrhagic strokes can be intracerbral, which is more common, or subarachnoid. In an intracerbral hemorrhage, bleeding occurs from vessels within the brain itself. High blood pressure is the main cause of this type of hemorrhage. If asked to recall Franklin Delano Roosevelt, youre not likely to think of intracerbral hemorrhages. But, like Nixon, Roosevelt was a stroke-sufferer. In fact, a brain hemorrhage led to his death in 1945. The other kind of bleed is a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which occurs when a ballooning of a weakened blood vessel, or arterial aneurism, bursts. Blood then spills into the protective spinal fluid around the brain, causing it to be surrounded by this contaminated fluid. If the blood goes into the brain, or if the blood vessels spasm, it can cause a stroke. A stroke is a brain attack. No matter what type of stroke a patient has, it is important to seek medical assistance IMMEDIATELY, as lifetime disability or death can result.More »
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When there are preventable risk factors for stroke then they must be looked into in order to lessen your chances. Watch the video to know more about it.
Transcript: Strokes, or "brain attacks," are scary-but often preventable! Knowing your risk factors can help you...
Strokes, or "brain attacks," are scary-but often preventable! Knowing your risk factors can help you take steps to ensure that a stroke doesn't happen to you. In America, one out of every 16 deaths is caused by stroke, yet up to 80 percent of those could have been prevented! While anyone can have a stroke, a variety of factors can increase that risk. Some risk factors are uncontrollable, such as your age and gender. After the age of 55, stroke risk doubles for every decade. Additionally, men are more likely to suffer from strokes. A family history of stroke means that you have a higher risk of having one yourself. In addition, if you've already suffered from a stroke or a transient ischemic attack, which is a reversible loss of neurological function, you have a 40 percent greater risk of having another stroke within 5 years. Another uncontrollable risk factor is race. African-Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to suffer from strokes. Although no one is sure why, higher rates of hypertension, sickle cell anemia, and diabetes are all possible causes. In fact, diabetics are 2 to 4 times more likely to have a stroke than people without this disease. Atrial fibrillation occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly, and often, rapidly. This allows blood to pool in the heart, leading to clots. The condition increases the risk of a stroke six-fold because these clots can break off and be carried to the blood vessels in the brain. Many stroke risk factors, however, ARE controllable. Having high blood pressure, which is defined as a reading of 140 over 90 or greater, increases stroke risk by 4 to 6 times. High blood pressure makes the heart pump harder. People with high blood pressure often have constricted arteries that make it harder to move blood through the body. This can lead to weakened blood vessels and, eventually, to hemorrhagic stroke. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance in the body that is made internally and is also found in the foods we eat. Some cholesterol is necessary for basic body functioning, but when levels rise above 200 milligrams per deciliter, which can lead to a stroke-causing blockage. People who are overweight are also stroke-candidates, because obesity can lead to hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. Poor Lifestyle choices, too, can also increase stroke risk. Because smoking damages blood vessel walls, speeds up the clogging of arteries and raises blood pressure, smokers have double the risk of stroke. Women who drink more than one alcoholic beverage a day, and men who consume more than two, also have increased storke risk. While the risk-factors can seem overwhelming, becoming aware of them and taking steps to get healthier can reduce your risk of a potentially life-threatening stroke. Please see your doctor if you have any of these risk factors for a stroke.More »
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