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Posts Tagged ‘prevention’

Never go shopping while having a stroke.

In Health, Local News, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle on February 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm

DIH LOGOPresented for your consideration, a middle aged man somewhere in America who awakens one seemingly normal morning to discover his right arm has become a lifeless dead-weight, movable but numb. Puzzled, he pays little attention and goes to the kitchen for coffee but abandons the attempt when his hand is too weak to hold the cup. Strangely, he pulls on his coat and makes his way out the door to his car where he drives to the grocery store. Soon, he realizes that the right side of his face feels heavy and tingling, like it’s sliding off his skull and eventually goes numb.

He tries to speak, but his words are garbled and slow, as if he’d just had a root canal and a face full of Novocain. Somehow he makes it home, but after consulting WebMD.com, he finally accepts that something is seriously wrong. He dials 9-1-1 and struggles his way through mush-mouthing the word, “help,” followed shortly by the pulsing strobes and screeching sirens of an ambulance.

No, this wasn’t some bizarre trip through an episode of The Twilight Zone. Instead, it was a reasonably accurate account of what happened to my friend Jim Karns just a few days ago when he experienced what turned out to be a series of very dangerous strokes.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Maybe so, but, oddly enough, this is not an uncommon story. While he was having coffee, surfing the web and doing his shopping, Jim’s brain cells were being eradicated by a shotgun blast of tiny blood clots which cut off life-sustaining oxygen.

It’s certainly funny to think now about all the silly things Jim was doing instead of calling for help, but a stroke is certainly no laughing matter. Many stroke victims don’t even realize what is happening because symptoms may be so mild as to go virtually unnoticed.

Stroke Risk Chart  (Courtesy The Huffington Post)

Stroke Risk Chart (Courtesy The Huffington Post)

Every year nearly 800,000 Americans fall victim to some type of stroke, a sort of “brain attack,” which happens when a restriction of blood flow kills off vital cells. Symptoms can occur one at a time or simultaneously, depending on the type and severity of the stroke.

In Jim’s case, he experienced numbness and weakness in his face and right arm but his legs were unaffected. A bass singer with what most describe as a strong radio voice, during the attack his speech was slow, frail and garbled and he had trouble closing his right eye.

According to experts people experience a combination of symptoms during a stroke including numbness, confusion or trouble understanding other people, impaired vision, difficulty walking, dizziness, or a severe headache that comes on for no apparent reason.

Jim Karn, Magician, performer, electronics technician.

Jim Karn, Magician, performer, electronics technician.

Fortunately, Jim is recovering remarkably well and I would say the best lesson to be learned from his incident is to act immediately. Coffee and the grocery store can wait, and don’t waste time looking up your symptoms online before taking action. It’s thoroughly frightening to think that a person could be driving or doing something equally as dangerous while these things are happening.

Most importantly, never ignore the warning signs of a stroke and call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. If you are around someone who is experiencing some of these symptoms, take charge and call for help right away, even if the individual protests or says the symptoms have subsided.

The best defense against stroke is to try to avoid one, so know your risks. Women, the elderly, African-Americans, those seriously overweight and people with a family history of stroke are at the greatest risk. As always, eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise and get regular checkups to help stack the odds in your favor. To learn more about the prevention and symptoms of strokes, see your doctor or visit The American Stroke Association online at www.strokeassociation.org.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist from Jamestown, Ohio. More at http://www.gerydeer.com

The Key To Identity Theft Prevention Is Preparation

In Business, Economy, Education, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on June 19, 2012 at 7:35 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

Apart from locks and security systems, one of the most basic things we can do to keep our homes and families secure is to take steps to prevent identity theft. When the bad guys get hold of critical private information it is not hard for them to start using your information to their benefit.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft is the act of using personally identifying information, like name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

The crime of identity theft may be perpetrated in various ways, from renting an apartment to opening a credit card. The thefts may actually go unnoticed for some time, often until the victim notes some kind of anomaly in his or her bank statement or credit report. Sometimes the victims do not find out until they are contacted by a debt collecting service.

So what can you do to prevent identity theft? Probably the single most effective weapon against this type of crime is knowledge. Knowledge of the methods used by these criminals to steal your information as well as a better awareness of your own records and personal financial information can help you beat many forms of this crime.

One thing you can do is to closely monitor your personal information, such as credit reports and monthly bills, to uncover any problems as soon as possible. Identity thieves depend on the inaction of their victims. Unless the total on a bill is outrageously high, often people just pay it, without scrutinizing the contents.

Another preventative measure against this kind of crime is to be mindful of where your old paperwork goes when it is thrown away. When disposing of any paperwork containing personal information, be sure to shred the documents completely – especially medical files, checks, and credit card statements.

Most people get credit card offers in the mail on a regular basis and just toss them into the trash. This is also something that could lead to an identity theft problem. Criminals will often scour trash for these papers and open credit cards in your name using those documents.

Also, be sure when buying online to use only secured websites and ask them about their security before buying anything if it seems questionable. If you notice anything suspicious on any credit reports, bank statements, or other critical documents, contact the creditor or company as soon as possible.

For those who enjoy making online purchases on a regular basis, create a ‘dummy’ email address at Yahoo or Gmail specifically to be used for these transactions. Retailers often sell email and other contact information to marketing companies which then flood inboxes with junk mail. Some of the incoming messages may come from illegitimate sellers using personal information to obtain passwords and credit card information. Using a different email address allows better control over incoming junk mail and limits the chances of clicking on a link that might inadvertently open the door to an identity thief.

If you have already been plagued by this kind of criminal action, you are not alone. First, contact the authorities. Most police departments now have an identity theft division or someone designated to help with this kind of crime.

Be ready! Keep, readily available, a complete list of all credit cards, online accounts, checking accounts, and so on, including any PIN numbers, passwords and customer service contact information. If something should happen, you can shut down these accounts quickly before more damage is done.

Stay diligent and continue to monitor your private information closely for several months. There is no way to really say how long the effects of identity theft can last.For more information on how to prevent identity theft or what to do if you think you may have been a victim, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at http://www.ftc.gov.