Points to Ponder

Stroke prevention:

Each year in Canada stroke occurs in 50,000 people and account for seven per cent of all deaths. About five per cent of men and women over the age of 65 have been affected by stroke. Patients with stroke require a lot of care and health care resources. The question is: can we prevent stroke?

Chronic conditions like atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm), hypertension, high cholesterol levels and diabetes can lead to stroke if not appropriately managed.

For example, about 26 per cent of Canadian adult men and 18 per cent of women have hypertension. But 40 per cent of such people are unaware they have hypertension. This is not good.

Some risk factors like age, gender and genetic factors cannot be changed. Physical inactivity, smoking and heavy use of alcohol increases the risk of stroke. These risk factors can be changed if a person so desires.

It is important to know the warning signs of stroke: sudden weakness, trouble speaking, sudden loss of vision and severe unusual headache or dizziness. If you do experience these symptoms then call for help. Timely use of aspirin and clot busting drugs can significantly modify the outcome of stroke.

According to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, several agents can be used to manage underlying disease to prevent stroke:

-Antiplatelet agents like aspirin
-Blood thinners like Coumadin
-Control of high blood pressure with thiazides and ACE inhibitors
-Reducing the cholesterol level with statin
-If indicated, surgery for correction of narrowing of carotid artery in the neck

These measures should be combined with increased physical activity, no smoking and reduction in the amount of alcohol consumed. So stroke can be prevented if we take control of our health and modify the risk factors. See your doctor and find out what kind of risk factors you can modify to prevent stroke.

Germs in the work place:

“It turns out the typical office is a fertile breeding ground for germs – especially if you’re a teacher or an accountant,” says a news item in Stitches for Patients. A study conducted at the University of Arizona found that bacteria levels in accountants’ offices were almost seven times higher than in lawyers’ offices.

The study also found that phones, desks and keyboards used by teachers, accountants and bankers had two to 20 times more bacteria per square inch than other occupations. The more time you spend at your desk, the more germs you collect.

The American Dietetic Association has found that 20 per cent of American workers never clean their desks before eating on them and more than 75 per cent do so occasionally even though 57 per cent eat at their desks at least once a day.

What about the health conscious doctors? They were number five on the list of germiest offices, says the Stitches news item. Well, now I know where not to have my lunch! Honey, I am coming home.

Thought for the day from my friend George:

Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time because you won’t have a leg to stand on.

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