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This must be a record. A second diary from Pastor Agnostic sans curmudgeonly sarcasm, sermonizing, sanitizing, simonizing, or even one reference to Sarah Palin, what one might call, Sarah-tizing.

Yesterday, I gave thanks not to the juicy breast meat of a cooked captive bird, but that Honey made it to the hospital timely.

Today, we will discuss the cause of Honey's (and my) distress. Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA) and Acute Ischemic Attacks,  (AIA), and finally, what we call a Stroke. The latter can range from mini strokes, to serious, disabling ones that change your life or kill you. Lastly, there is one step that works magic for prevention. See you below the fold.

What follows is Mayo's List of symptoms that should be a warning sign to everyone. Honey had only two, so read them all:

If you suffer from a sudden attack of:

  1. Muscle weakness of the face, arm, or leg (usually only on one side of the body)
  1. Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
  1. Trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking
  1. Problems with eyesight (double vision, loss of all or part of vision)
  1. Changes in sensation, involving touch, pain, temperature, pressure, hearing, and taste
  1. Change in alertness (sleepiness, less responsive, unconscious, or coma)
  1. Personality, mood, or emotional changes
  1. Confusion or loss of memory
  1. Difficulty swallowing
  1. Difficulty writing or reading
  1. Lack of coordination and balance, clumsiness, or trouble walking
  1. Abnormal sensation of movement (vertigo) or dizziness
  1. Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
  1. Inability to recognize or identify sensory stimuli (agnosia)


No exceptions. No delays. No discussions. No coverage? So what? Immediate care now is cheap, compared to the alternative, if you wait too long.

Chances are that you or your loved one suffer from a TIA or an AIA.  There are other diagnoses, including ruptured blood vessels, head injury, infection, even an auto immune problem or three, but for the most part, sudden onset more often means that your blood supply in one area of your brain has been disrupted.

Causes? A temporary loss of blood flow to the brain can be caused by:
A Blood clot within an artery of the brain
A Blood clot that travels to the brain from somewhere else in the body (the heart, chest, neck)
Trauma or Injury to a blood vessel
Narrowing of a blood vessel in the brain or leading to the brain

The last item can be a long standing condition (the narrowing of your blood vessels with fatty deposits, also known as "Atherosclerosis."

Short term, there are some amazing new drugs that can reverse your most serious symptoms, but like everything else, TIME IS STILL A FOUR LETTER WORD. The sooner you get treatment, the better the result and the easier (and better) your recovery. Do not delay. Do not wait. Do not pass go, and do not collect $200. GO. Better yet, call 911 or have a loved one drive you NOW!

- - - - -

OK, you and your loved ones are both hunky and dory. If you have good health, maintain a decent diet, avoid salty foods, diet drinks, and any and all fast foods, you should consider adding something to your diet. It is a drug so magical, so potent, so effective, that if they tried to have it approved for the market today, we'd never see it on the shelves.


Whether it is prevention, or post stroke or post TIA, aspirin thins your blood and can save your life.

What exactly is Aspirin? Well, in 1899, Farbenfabriken Bayer created two new artificial chemical compounds for the treatment of pain, arthritis, baby's colic and coughs. One was aspirin, (pain and arthritis),  the other was called heroin (for baby's colic and cough suppression).  

In the 1970s, some more observant doctors began to notice that patients who routinely took aspirin, had a far lower incidence of strokes and TIAs. Since that time, using many studies, including double blind studies, scientists have tried to determine the best level of aspirin, and at what rate it should be taken.

Too high a dose, and there was no measurable additional benefit, but there were more side effects. Too low a dose, and there was less benefit. Right now, 81 mgs or more (what makers call baby aspirin) seems to be a fine mix of effectiveness and low side effects. More, to some degree actually does do more for your circulatory system's health. But too much is dangerous.

Just because it is over the shelf, aspirin does a number of complex things. It is not a joke. It is not candy. It is a serious medicine and should be treated accordingly.

Aspirin would not make it to today's market for three reasons:
a.  A is for Allergy
Some people are serious, even fatally allergic to it.  
b. B is for Bleeding
Taking aspirin for extended periods can lead to gastro-intestinal bleeding.
c. C is for Children
Kids taking adult doses suffer far higher rates of  Reye's Syndrome,  a condition that attacks every internal organ, especially the brain and the liver. No cure has been found.

In other words, there are enough side effects that had not aspirin been shown to be so effective on so many symptoms and problems, we would not have it on the shelves.

On the other hand, for pain relief, and as a stroke and TIA prevention medication, one that is cheap, easily made, predictable, and extremely effective, Aspirin is Magic.


On a side note, thanks to all who expressed support for Honey, both privately and online. I just got off the phone with Honey and her treater. Her symptoms are diminishing, her vision is improving and she is far more steady on her feet. (Heh, they are giving her 4 tabs, adult dose aspirins at each juncture, and will be cutting it down to 2, then 1 every 4 hours over the next few days.)  Her voice was strong, her spirits were rising, and her emotional state (which was far better than mine to begin with), is soaring. Which means, from a very greedy and self-serving point of view, my wonderful Honey is getting better, much better.  Thanks to each of you for your kind thoughts.

So, if I may leave you with a word of advise: Get examined, and start taking daily doses of aspirin, if you can tolerate it.

Originally posted to agnostic on Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 08:20 AM PST.


Do you take Aspirin daily?

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