In this episode of the Sarasota Neurology Podcast, Dr. Kassicieh, a recognized expert in stroke prevention, provides an overview of current techniques for preventing and managing risk of stroke.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. This combined with heart attacks and heart disease result in over 2 million deaths a year.
The common underlying cause is vascular disease or hardening of the arteries. Heart attack and stroke can be prevented with simple life style changes and medications. Treatment of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and stop smoking will significantly lower risk of suffering from these devastating conditions. This combined with supplements and simple medications, such as aspirin with have a dramatic impact in reducing risk for stroke and heart attack.
Listen to this report to find out how you can reduce your risk of suffering from a stroke, heart attack or other cardiovascular disease.
If you are concerned that you or someone you love may be at risk for stroke, please call (941) 955-5858 or click here to schedule your appointment today. If you’re outside the Sarasota area and unable to travel here, please locate a neurologist in your area.
Posted in General Medicine, High Cholesterol, Podcast, Stroke and tagged aspirin, blood pressure, cardiovascular, cholesterol, heart, heart attack, heart attacks, heart disease, high blood, smoking, Stroke, vascular by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.
In this episode of the Sarasota Neurology Podcast, Dr. Kassicieh, a recognized expert in clinical Botox, provides an overview of current techniques for treating dystonia, muscle spasm (which may be associated with pain), spasticity from stroke or brain injury with Botox.
Botox was first FDA approved for medical use in 1989. Since then, Botox has found many medical uses to treat clinical conditions that were previously difficult to treat. Conditions such as cervical dystonia, blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm and spasticity such as that seen in cerebral palsy, stroke or spinal cord injuries have all been successfully managed with Botox.
Other similar products such as Dysport and Xeomin all have uses for cervical dystonia. Most recently, Botox was approved for use for treatment of chronic migraine headaches. Listen for more information on the clinical use of Botox and other similar products.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of Botox, please call (941) 955-5858 or click here to schedule your appointment today. If you’re outside the Sarasota area and unable to travel here, please locate a neurologist in your area.
Posted in Botox, Movement Disorders, Pain, Podcast, Stroke and tagged Botox, Botox injections, cerebral, clinical, dystonia, FDA, headaches, migraine, Pain, spasm, spinal cord, Stroke by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.
Vascular disease or “hardening of the arteries”, also known as atherosclerotic disease, is the number one cause of death in the United States. Contributing risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Diabetes is a major risk factor, equivalent to that of having had a heart attack. There is a direct association with high cholesterol and increased incidence of coronary artery disease. The most significant risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol are associated with a higher rate of vascular disease, stroke and heart attack. Recent publications have indicated that coffee and tea may reduce the risk of having a stroke, stroke symptoms or other vascular events such as heart attack. The studies also indicate that individuals who consume coffee have a lower prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
As reported in Neurology Reviews, several independent studies have shown that daily consumption of black or green tea reduced the rate of stroke and number of people dying from stroke. These findings were reported at the 2009 International Stroke Conference. A summary of the findings of the numerous studies done show that tea consumption was associated with decreased brain volume injury from stroke with an increase in the number of brain cells that survive in a stroke. Retrospective analysis of the studies published, showed that 195,000 stroke patients were involved and the total number of strokes was 4,300. Dr. Lenore Arab, PhD reported this information and found that the consumption of three cups of tea daily was associated with an average stroke risk reduction of 21%. The exact mechanism of protection by tea in stroke risk reduction has not yet been completely determined. Dr. Arab’s findings were published in Stroke, 2009 February 19.
Coffee consumption has also been reported to reduce the prevalence of stroke. Information regarding coffee consumption and reduced stroke prevalence was also presented at the 2009 International Stroke Conference. This was published in Circulation, a well respected medical journal. It was reported that stroke and other vascular risk factors decreased the amount of daily coffee consumption increased. This finding was consistent even after considering and factoring out other high stroke risk factors such as smoking. Of the 9,384 patients in the study, for whom coffee consumption information was available, it was found that about 3000 had suffered stroke,TIA (transient ischemic attack) or stroke symptoms. The range of coffee consumption ranged from zero to 20 cups daily. Analysis of the data showed that in the individuals studied, those who drank no coffee had the highest prevalence of stroke. Drinking 1-2 cups daily had a stroke prevalence of 5%, 3-5 cups daily 3.5% stroke prevalence and greater than 6 cups daily 2.9% stroke prevalence. Other analysis of the data showed that there was an overall lowered prevalence of high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery disease with daily consumption of coffee, particularly in the higher daily coffee consumption group.
In conclusion, it is clear from the available data published in several medical journals, such as Stroke and Circulation, that there is a significant reduction in rate and prevalence of TIA, stroke and stroke symptoms with daily consumption of tea and/or coffee. Higher coffee consumption appears to be associated with a greater reduction in stroke prevalence. This in combination with a healthy diet, exercise of any kind and optimized medical therapy will provide individuals with the greatest protection against having a stroke and stroke prevention.
Posted in General Medicine, High Cholesterol, Stroke and tagged cholesterol, circulation, coffee, coronary artery disease, diabetes, heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, High Cholesterol, smoking, Stroke, stroke prevention, stroke symptoms, tea, TIA, vascular, vascular disease by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.
There are many studies that have shown excellent health benefits from taking omega 3 type fish oil. Omega 3 oils are found in fish oils, flax seed and several vegetable oils including canola, soybean and olive oils. There are different components to these oils that provide health benefits. The DHA and EPA oils in fish oil have been linked to reducing hardening of the arteries and lowering triglycerides. They also have the benefit of lowering blood pressure and heart rate to a mild degree. This all results in an overall reduction in risk for coronary artery disease, heart attack, sudden death, irregular heart beat and stroke. Fish oil can also have a blood thinning effect to reduce abnormal blood clotting, similar to that of aspirin. This latter effect is a two edge sword because too much fish oil can increase the risk for serious bleeding. Generally three grams (3000 mg) daily or less is considered safe. Daily intake of Omega 3 should come from dietary sources with no more than 2000 mg (2 grams) coming from supplements.
Omega-3 is derived from high fat containing fish such as albacore tuna, salmon, flounder, pompano, anchovies, sardines and mackerel. Fish in the equatorial regions around South America have a higher content of Omega 3 than do those caught in the more northern areas around Scandinavia and Iceland. Interestingly flax seed, flax oil and kiwi fruit contain higher amounts of Omega 3 oils than do that of fish. Flax seed can be added to cereal, baked goods or eaten alone. Fish oil capsules are available in 1000 mg and 1200 mg sizes. It is important to not confuse Omega-3 oils with Omega-6 oils. Omega-6 oils do not confer the health benefits that Omega-3 fish oils do. Omega-6 is found in high concentrations in various types of vegetable oils derived from the following: corn, safflower, sesame, soybean, sunflower and walnuts. It is important to reduce the consumption of Omega-6 oils as they compete with Omega-3 oils, thereby decreasing the benefit from Omega-3 fish oils. Eating fish twice a week is the standard recommendation, in addition to taking any supplements.
There have been many studies showing the beneficial effects of Omega-3 oils. The main benefit comes from reduction of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), reduced coronary artery disease, decreased risk of heart attack and potentially fatal heart beat rhythms. Omega-3 oils have also been shown in some studies to have a brain cell protective effect in such conditions as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Fish oils can improve memory to a degree. Several studies have shown that 2000-3000 mg of Omega-3 oil intake daily, has a potent antiinflammatory action as that of high dose ibuprofen. Patients with arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from Omega-3, without the risks associated with taking
antiinflammatory drugs for extended periods (such as bleeding stomach ulcers, kidney and liver damage.) It should be noted that the fish oil capsules have a more robust effect for reducing inflammation than that of flax seed oils.
Omega-3 oils can reduce total triglyceride levels and increase “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels. These oils also have an overall beneficial effect on the blood vessels, both in increasing blood flow and improving the health and stability of the vessel walls themselves. This effect is in part responsible for the risk reduction in having a stroke or heart attack as well as patients with problematic varicose veins and leg pains due to peripheral vascular disease. A word of caution: in patients with congestive heart failure, consultation with your cardiologist is first advised. As fish oil has a blood thinning effect, you should check with your doctor if you are taking prescription blood thinners. Additional benefits from Omega-3 fish oils have been shown in improving retinal (visual) function and possibly slowing down macular degeneration. Studies in psychiatric conditions have demonstrated Omega-3 beneficial effects in reducing depression, lessening memory loss and improving memory function.
Posted in General Medicine, High Cholesterol, Memory Loss / Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia, Parkinson's disease and tagged Alzheimer's, arthritis, aspirin, blood pressure, brain, cholesterol, depression, fish, fish oil, flax seed, good cholesterol, health, heart, heart attack, leg pain, macular degeneration, memory, Memory loss, omega 3, Parkinson, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Stroke by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.
Vertigo is one of the most common causes of dizziness. It is distinctly different from other types of dizziness. With vertigo, a patient feels a spinning or moving sensation. The room or floor can feel like it is moving or the patient may feel a spinning or off balance sensation. Vertigo can sometimes be associated with nausea or vomiting. If severe, walking can be affected with the patient having staggering or inability to walk.
Vertigo has many causes but the most common include head trauma, ear infection and Meniere’s disease. Vertigo can frequently occur spontaneously, without a cause, and this is called benign positional vertigo (BPV.) Temporary vertigo can be experienced after getting off an amusement park ride or going out boating (sea sickness.) Meniere’s disease is a condition of sudden episodes of severe vertigo associated with progressive hearing loss. Stroke is a relatively rare cause of dizziness.
The cause of benign positional vertigo is quite simple. In the inner ear, our balance center, are the semicircular canals. These canals contain fluid that moves when we move, stimulation motion sensitive hair-nerve cells. It is this mechanism that gives us balance and allows up to keep from falling. Inside the area that contains the semicircular canals are small calcium crystals. When one of these crystals breaks off from the wall of the labyrinth, they move into the semicircular canal. With changes in head position such as rolling over, getting out of bed, bending, looking up or looking suddenly to one side, the calcium crystal (canalith) moves, abnormally disturbing motion-sensitive hair cells. This is what gives the sensation of vertigo or feeling dizzy. The vertigo associated with BPV is usually short in duration. In more severe cases patients can be disabled. A condition known as labyrinthitis is a severe form of vertigo, caused by inflammation of the labyrith. It needs to be differentiated from stroke. A CT or MRI brain scan should be performed.
Treatment of vertigo consists mostly of medication control of symptoms. Meclizine is the standard drug used for symptomatic treatment of vertigo. It is safe, effective and nonhabit forming. The usual dose is 25 mg one to four times daily. Drowsiness is the major side effect. For patients who do not respond to meclizine, very low dose Valium (1 mg) can frequently be effective.
There is nonpharmaceutical treatment of vertigo. This requires the affected patient to do Epley Exercises 2-3 times daily. This has the effect of repositioning the calcium crystal and fatiguing vertigo response. This You Tube video has an excellent demonstration of these exercises. The American Academy of Neurology recently published guidelines for treatment of vertigo. The medical evidence is strongly in favor of physician administered canalith repositioning. This was the most effective treatment available.
In summary, most causes of vertigo are benign but the symptoms can be disabling. Sometimes it is important to rule out more serious causes of vertigo such as stroke or brain tumor. Affected individuals should seek out care from a neurologist or other physician familiar with the treatment of vertigo.
Posted in Vertigo / Dizziness and tagged brain tumor, dizziness, dizzy, meclizine, Meniere's disease, MRI, MRI brain, neurologist, Stroke, tumor, Valium, vertigo, You Tube by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.
Many patients over the age of 65 complain of memory loss and are concerned they have dementia. Others attribute their memory loss to aging. While there is a very mild degree of memory loss associated with aging, it is usually not significant. For example, forgetting where you put your keys or where you parked your car. These are not serious memory problems. A more problematic degree of memory loss, while not dementia, is called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). MCI is characterized by an increase level of forgetfulness. There are two primary types of MCI: (1) Amnestic MCI (2) Non-amnestic MCI. In patients affected with amnestic MCI, they have significant memory and recall difficulty. There is a stronger association with this type of MCI with Alzheimer’s disease. Non-amnestic MCI usually does not progress to Alzheimer’s disease but may go on to other types of dementia. The good news is that about fifty percent of all patient’s with MCI never progress to Alzheimer’s or any other dementia. MCI can also spontaneously improve and clear.
The American Academy of Neurology published criteria for the diagnosis of MCI: (1) Individuals reporting their awareness of memory difficulty – preferably confirmed by a spouse or child; (2) Measurable memory loss greater than would be expected for age; (3) Normal general thinking and reasoning skills; (4) Ability to perform routine daily activities. Frequently patients with MCI have specific areas in which they are having memory trouble whereas patients affected with dementia have more global memory difficulties. Also quite frequently, patients with dementia are unaware of having any memory problem at all.
Risk factors for MCI and mild memory loss include such things as high blood pressure, lower educational levels, lack of physical and mental activities and vascular disease. Vascular dementia is seen in patients that have had multiple small strokes. Abnormally low blood pressure, particularly in patients with significant brain vascular disease (hardening of the arteries) can be a cause of reversible memory loss. Depression can cause a condition of memory loss known as pseudo-dementia syndrome of depression. Fortunately this is treatable and the “memory loss” is reversible in this condition.
In those patients affected with MCI, they can go on to develop dementia, usually Alzheimer’s disease. The true incidence is difficult to measure and ranges between 27-65% depending on which study one reads. Some studies have shown that the use of memory loss medications such as donzepil (Aricept®) can help improve memory function and potentially slow the progression of memory loss. It should be noted that in patients over the age of 70, approximately 12% will have some degree of memory difficulty. This is highly variable from patient to patient.
In summary, if you have a sense that you have memory difficulty, do not attribute it to normal aging. Consider seeing a neurologist trained in evaluating memory disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. You have everything to gain by improving your quality of life.
Posted in Memory Loss / Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia, Stroke and tagged Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, Aricept, dementia, depression, high blood pressure, MCI, memory, Memory loss, Memory Loss / Alzheimer's Disease, mild cognitive impairment, neurologist, Quality of Life, Stroke by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a rare disorder that is characterized by progressive gait difficulty, urinary incontinence and memory loss. Although the press has covered this topic extensively in both the written and video media, true normal pressure hydrocephalus remains quite uncommon. The underlying problem is actually an excessive build up of spinal fluid in the brain. The areas of the brain that stores this fluid are known as the ventricles. In NPH, the spinal fluid flows out of the brain but, due to reasons that are not entirely clear, there is a build up of excessive fluid in the brain. This results in enlarged ventricles causing a condition called communicating hydrocephalus.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus develops very slowly, over months to years. It is usually seen in individuals over the age of 65. As the ventricles slowly increase in size, affected patients begin to show signs of slowed, wide based, unsteady gait. Urinary incontinence may also develop during this time. Later during the disease process memory loss begins. All of the symptoms are very slowly progressive. Patients can be diagnosed incorrectly with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression or just dementia.
The gait difficulty comes from the fact the the nerve fibers that control walking and balance become stretched as the ventricles enlarge. With this comes progressively worsening gait imbalance and falling. Patients may complain of weakness and fatigue. Patients will actually will tell you that their feet feel stuck to the ground, giving rise to the term magnetic gait. Memory loss seen in normal pressure involves mainly recall and slowness of thinking. Recognition of objects, tasks and individuals is better preserved. Without careful testing however, one can easily make the mistake of making an erroneous diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease versus normal pressure hydrocephalus associated dementia. Urinary incontinence is a later finding in the disease process. There is an increasing need to urinate more frequently and urgently. If the dementia progresses too far, patients will become indifferent to their incontinence.
Diagnosis is made by obtaining an MRI or CT brain scan. The ventricles appear enlarged in the absence of brain atrophy (shrinkage.) As a normal process of aging, there is a certain amount of atrophy. It other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, alcoholism or in patient’s who have received chemotherapy, brain atrophy can be more prominent. The key in diagnosing NPH is that the degree of ventricular enlargement is out of proportion to the expected degree of atrophy. The degree of ventricular enlargement can be measured as a ratio to the degree of atrophy. The second step in diagnosis, after a complete neurological exam, is to do a diagnostic spinal tap (lumbar puncture.) During this procedure, 1-2 ounces of spinal fluid is drained off. The patient is then tested to see if their gait improves.
Treatment for confirmed cases of normal pressure hydrocephalus is a brain surgery procedure know as a ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. In this procedure, a tube is placed in the ventricles and the other end drains into the abdomen. The tube is run under the skin. Spinal fluid is then absorbed in the abdomen. There is no known effective medical treatment for NPH. Early diagnosis and treatment is important as the gait disorder and urinary symptoms can be alleviated. Once the memory loss has begun, this cannot be reversed.
In order to have the accurate diagnosis of normal pressure hydrocephalus, a patient should be seen by a neurologist or neurosurgeon familiar with the condition. It is not necessarily easily diagnosed, even by experienced physicians. Nonspecific gait disorder is common with advancing age. Dementia is also common, particularly over the age of 70. Stroke, Parkinson’s disease and low thyroid can mimic the symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus. The main point is that of all these conditions, true normal pressure hydrocephalus occurs very rarely and is generally considered a diagnosis of exclusion of every other problem plus meet the diagnostic criteria listed above.
Posted in Memory Loss / Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia, Movement Disorders and tagged Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, brain surgery, dementia, depression, gait, hydrocephalus, lumbar puncture, Memory loss, Memory Loss / Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia, neurologist, normal pressure hydrocephalus, Parkinson, Parkinson's disease, shunt, spinal fluid, spinal tap, Stroke, urinary incontinence by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.
Seizures are the manifestation of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Affected individuals show clinical symptoms of seizures with twitching or jerking of one side or their entire body. With this they can make gasping noises, turn blue in the face, bite their tongue or lose control of their bladder. These symptoms are charateristic of a grand mal seizure. During an epileptic attacks, the person is not responsive or aware of what is going on around them. Fortunately there is excellent treatment available to control seizures and in many cases, keep patients seizure free.
It is estimated that there are 2-3 million individuals in the United States who suffer from recurrent seizures (epilepsy.) Many of these people are neurologically intact with the cause of their seizures being unknown. It is estimated that up to 10 percent of the population will suffer a single seizure in their life time. This does not mean that they will go on to have recurrent seizures or epilepsy. The average lifetime risk of having recurrent seizures is 3 percent.
Risk of developing seizures include prior head injuries, alcohol or drug abuse, stroke, meningitis or other brain infections. Brain damage from trauma, surgery or tumors can also predispose to seizures. For anyone who has even a single seizure, they should see a neurologist for a complete evaluation. A minimum of screening lab work, an EEG (electroencephalogram) and MRI brain scan should be done. Of course a complete history and physical (neurological) exam is also required. One important point to remember is that a normal EEG does not exclude the possibility that a patient suffers from seizures. In fact, approximately 70 percent of patients with recurrent seizures will have a normal EEG at all times other than during the time when they are having a seizure.
Fortunately there are several excellent seizure preventing medications (anticonvulsants) available. For decades, Dilantin, Tegretol and Depakote were the mainstay in seizure treatment. In the 1990s, several new anticonvulsants received FDA approval. These included Felbatol, Topamax, Lamictal, Neurontin, Keppra and Zonegran. In 2005, the FDA approved Lyrica for treatment of seizures. Although highly effective in controlling and stopping seizures, the newer anticonvulsants are overall no more effective than the older agents. One benefit of the newer agents is that they do not require as much lab monitoring as the older agents. Some anticonvulsants, such as Lamictal, Neurontin and Lyrica require no lab monitoring.
In summary, patient with recurrent seizures (epilepsy) or for those that have had a single seizure but are at high risk for further seizures, there are a number of therapeutic options available to control their seizures and improve their quality of life. Many patients can have complete control of their seizures, meaning seizure free, with appropriate evaluation and treatment. Most neurologically intact individuals can lead normal lives with specific seizure care by a neurologist. This fact has been shown through many studies on seizures and is the foundation of evidence based medicine for seizure control. It is critical that they see a neurologist as soon as possible, after their first attack, so that proper evaluation and treatment can be started.
Posted in Seizures, Stroke and tagged Depakote, Dilantin, drug abuse, EEG, epilepsy, evidence based medicine, FDA approval, grand mal seizure, Keppra, Lamictal, lifestyle, Lyrica, neurologist, Neurontin, Quality of Life, seizure, Seizures, Stroke, Tegretol, Topamax, Zonegran by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.
Stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or ruptures. The most common form of stroke is due to blockage of a blood vessel. Blood vessel blockage is caused by a condition known as
atherosclerosis, commonly known as “hardening of the arteries.” This is the most common type of stroke. Stroke is one of the three major leading causes of death in the United States. The other two are heart attack and cancer. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. It is for this reason that it is much wiser to focus on stroke prevention in the first place rather than trying to limit the damage with stroke treatment after event has occurred. High blood pressure (hypertension) is the single biggest, treatable risk factor for stroke. In the 1970s, there was a push by the medical community to aggressively treat high blood pressure to lower the risk of stroke, premature heart disease and kidney failure. One cannot feel that their blood pressure is elevated but the damage to major body organs (heart, brain, kidneys) continues on. It is only when these organs start to fail or a stoke occurs, will it become apparent that a given individual may have hypertension. On occasion, patients with untreated hypertension may have headaches. Fortunately checking one’s own blood pressure is easy. This can be done at your doctor’s office, pharmacies or the local fire department. If you have high blood pressure with the top number greater than 150 or the lower number greater than 85, you need to see a physician for treatment. Fortunately there are many different types of medication to treat high blood pressure. Many patients can be successfully treated with a single drug, for mild hypertension. Individuals with moderate to more severe hypertension, multiple drug therapy may be necessary. With the aggressive push to treat high blood pressure, the rate of stroke in the United States has dropped dramatically over the past two decades. There is a class of blood pressure medication, the ACE inhibitors, that have been shown in well designed clinical studies to significantly reduce the risk of stroke independent of their ability to lower blood pressure. Current evidence based medicine strongly suggests that addition of an ACE inhibitor should be done in patients with high blood pressure, even if their blood pressure is adequately controlled on other agents. Ideal blood pressure range should be with the upper number (systolic) being less than 130 and the lower number (diastolic) less than 80.
It has been well known for several decades that aspirin thins out the blood. Cardiologists have used aspirin extensively for 30 years to lower the risk of having a heart attack. Aspirin slows down the formation of clots by blocking the clumping of platelets to form blood clots. In 1994 a hallmark study, the Antiplatelet Trialists’ Collaboration, was published demonstrating the clear benefit of aspirin in the prevention of stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIA, “mini strokes”.) In 1998, the FDA approved labeling of aspirin for the prevention of TIA and stroke. Dosage recommendations in the range of 81-325 mg daily should be used. Unfortunately aspirin does not entirely prevent stroke or TIA from occurring. Other blood thinning agents can be used in patients who fail aspirin therapy. The other two agents are Plavix and Aggrenox. Either agent can be used in patients who have had a TIA or stroke while taking aspirin. In patients who have no history of heart disease, Aggrenox is the preferred agent. Plavix is preferred in those patients who have known coronary artery disease.
Lastly, high cholesterol has been implicated in the development of accelerated atherosclerosis. There have been studies that have shown some correlation of high cholesterol with the increased risk of having a stroke. Multiple, double-blind, placebo controlled studies have shown that the use of cholesterol lowering statin drugs for cholesterol reduction results in an average of a 27% overall secondary risk decrease in stroke. Studies are ongoing to show if statins may help in primary prevention of stroke and TIA. At this time, it is prudent to be on a statin drug, for cholesterol reduction. The currently available statins include: Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Crestor or Mevacor if you have a cholesterol over 200. The marked benefit of this class of drugs on the reduction of stroke and cardiac events (35%) is dramatic and strongly supports more aggressive treatment for high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia.) The objective is to have a total cholesterol less than 180, good cholesterol (HDL) of greater than 50 and bad cholesterol (LDL) less than 100. A recent study published in the journal Stroke reported that discontinuing statin therapy in the year after a stroke is associated with a significant increase in the risk for death, even in the absence of heart disease.
Medications are not the only treatment for stroke prevention. Smoking is associated with a 2-3 times greater risk of stroke and bleeding in the brain. Smoking also contributes to the accelerated development of heart disease, emphysema and peripheral artery disease. Chantix is a new medication that received FDA approval to help stop smoking. Exercise is important in maintaining overall body conditioning and weight control. This in turn leads to an overall lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol. In summary, stroke prevention is much easier and cost effective than fixing the problem after someone has a stroke. This approach to stroke reduces mortality and disability for the entire United States population. The cost saving are in the hundreds of billions of dollars over stroke treatment. If you feel that you are at risk for stroke, contact a neurologist for evaluation and treatment.
Posted in General Medicine, High Cholesterol, Stroke and tagged Aggrenox, aspirin, bad cholesterol, Chantix, cholesterol, Crestor, evidence based medicine, FDA, FDA approval, good cholesterol, headache, headaches, heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, High Cholesterol, Lipitor, Mevacor, neurologist, Plavix, Pravachol, smoking, statin, statins, stop smoking, Stroke, stroke prevention, stroke treatment, Zocor by Dan Kassicieh, D.O.