May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Did you know that bowel and bladder problems are not uncommon in people after they've had a stroke? It's estimated that 1 out of every 7 stroke survivors likely experience some kind of long term incontinence problem. Urinary incontinence, constipation, bowel incontinence, and urinary retention occur when the stroke has damaged the part of the brain that controls waste removal.
The National Stroke Association has a wealth of information on how to control and live with bowel and urinary problems, and they have some advice for stroke victims who are learning how to deal with their urinary problems.
Intermittent catheterization may help some stroke victims with urinary incontinence, although doctors sometimes have other treatment options for their patients such as bladder control exercises, medication, etc.
If you're having urinary incontinence issues, you may want to try going to the bathroom at regular intervals of time. Urinating every 2-3 hours regardless of if you feel the urge to or not can help prevent accidents.
Stroke Awareness with F.A.S.T.It's estimated that around 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, and it's been proven that education about the signs and symptoms of a stroke can help save lives. In a 2005 survey 93% of stroke victims recognized that sudden numbness on one side was a sign of a stroke, but only 38% of them knew about all of the major signs of a stroke and knew when to call 911. These are the common signs and symptoms of a stroke.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
These symptoms make it easy to identify if you're having a stroke, but determining if another person is having a stroke can be difficult. That's why the National Stroke Associations came up with the F.A.S.T.stroke symptom criteria. F.A.S.T. stands for face, arms, speech, and time, four very important factors when it comes to evaluating possible stroke victims.
If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, remember to keep F.A.S.T. in mind:
Face: Ask the person to smile, and pay attention to see if one side of their face is drooping
Arms: Ask the person to raise their arms, and see if one of the arms drifts downward
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, and see if their speech is slurred or if they're speaking in a strange manner (pauses, stammers, saying words out of order)
Time: Remember that time is an important factor in helping stroke victims. If you see them exhibiting any signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately.