Virtual Community Stroke Awareness Fair Q&A
This month Maui Health hosted it's 5th Annual Community Stroke Awareness Fair. The live virtual event included a cooking demonstration with Chef Leslie from Kula Hospital, exercise tips with PT Caitlin Reese & guest Tony Silva from Da Braddahs and Friends on Spectrum OC16, and stroke prevention with cardiologist Dr. Kimble Poon, MD & neurologist Dr. Cordia Wan, MD. Viewers learned about the symptoms of a stroke and the importance of getting to the hospital quickly. Throughout the program we received really great questions from participants. Most questions were answered during the the show, but you can read all our Q&A's and watch the full video below.
Virtual Community Stroke Awareness Fair Q&A
Q: My mom had a stroke in her 80's, does that mean I'm more at risk for a stroke?
A: Dr. Cordia Y. Wan, MD, Neurology, Not necessarily. There are some rare stroke syndromes that are passed on genetically. Generally, those syndromes are identified earlier in life and may also have other associate symptoms. When people have strokes young in life and don't have risk factors, that's when we may look for those genetic disorders. A patient in their 80's with risk factors and a stroke, is very unlikely to have a genetic disorder that can be passed down to future generations.
Q: If you've had a stroke are you more likely to have a 2nd or another stroke?
A: Dr. Cordia Y. Wan, MD, Neurology, The short answer is yes, people who've had strokes have some risk factor for stroke. That doesn't mean you will have another stroke. Having a first stroke is a warning sign that now is the time to look at your risk factors and time to pay attention to lifestyle changes and optimize medications. The risk is there but it doesn't mean it will happen, especially if you take the steps to prevent another stroke.
Q: Do Strokes cause permanent damage?
A: Dr. Cordia Y. Wan, MD, Neurology, Yes and no. Once an area of the brain has a stroke there is an area of physical injury there. But the symptoms that the stroke caused, that can improve and are not necessarily permanent. There is something called neuroplasticity where the brain essentially learns to re-wire itself and re-learn the function that's been lost. So functionally a person can get better and regain what was lost.
Q: Do people recover from a stroke?
A: Dr. Cordia Y. Wan, MD, Neurology, Yes, people recover from strokes. Some recover more so than others, it really depends on the size and area of the stroke and what the person's underlying health is like.
Q: What number should my cholesterol be?
A: Dr. Kimble Poon, MD, Cardiology, Target cholesterol depends on each patient's individual risk. If you are at low risk for stroke, a higher cholesterol level is tolerable but if you are a high risk for stroke then we want to aim for lower numbers.
Q: Besides medicine, what other ways can I lower my blood pressure?
A: Dr. Kimble Poon, MD, Cardiology, We shouldn't always assume that medicines are the best option, really exercise is the best "blood pressure medicine" out there. You lower your pressure and feel great. The current recommendation is 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 days a week. Moderate exercise means breaking a sweat. Also watching your salt intake, somewhere between 2-3 grams is important. Making sure you don't drink too much alcohol, 1 to 2 drinks a day is OK, but anything more than that can raise your blood pressure. Some medications can also raise your blood pressure, like taking too much Aleve or Advil. Stress, stress is bad for so many parts of your body. Taking time to take care of yourself and your family and trying to find a happy space is really important.
Q: What can I do to better my cholesterol numbers?
A: Dr. Kimble Poon, MD, Cardiology, The most dangerous type of cholesterol is LDL. Unfortunately, your genetics determines most of your LDL level, so statins are your best option to lower a high LDL. Triglycerides - another type of cholesterol - are also important: exercising, controlling your blood sugar, avoiding cigarettes, and avoiding fried foods will help.
Q: If you see someone having a stroke, other than calling 911, is there anything else that can be done while waiting for the ambulance?
A: Mariah Mossman, RN, Stroke Care Program Manager, After calling 911, note the time that the person was last seen normal and the time the person was noticed to have symptoms. Gather information about any medications or medical conditions that the person has. Don't give any medications, food, or drink while waiting.
Did you know Maui Memorial Medical Center is recognized by The Joint Commission as a Certified Primary Stroke Center? We're also an American Heart Association "Get With the Guidelines" Stroke Gold Plus with Honor Roll Elite and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll Achievement Award recipient. The award is one of the highest achieved by a Hawaii hospital and means we have the medical knowledge and abilities to treat all kinds of stroke 24/7, with access to a Maui neurologist at any time of the day or night. We are the best hospital for stroke treatment on Maui. Use the link below for more information on our Stroke Services.
Stroke Support Group
Our Stroke Support Group has gone virtual! The program aims to provide education, encouragement, and other helpful resources to individuals recovering from a previous stroke or families and caregivers who provide care to stroke survivors. Use the link below for more information or to join Maui Health's monthly Virtual Support Group.