DEAR DR. DONOHUE: In October of last year, my husband, age 63, died of a brain hemorrhage (stroke). He was a youthful, healthconscious man, now sorely missed by his wife, family and friends. This tragedy was due to undiagnosed high blood pressure, since he, like many men, refused to visit the doctor. Please encourage people, especially 55 and older, to have a checkup so they don’t suffer a similar fate. — R.A.
ANSWER: My sincerest condolences to you and your family. I hope many who read your letter will take your advice.
I’ve written about ischemic stroke, the kind that comes from a plugged brain artery. It accounts for most strokes. The letter-writer’s husband suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, one that comes from bleeding from a brain artery.
Hemorrhagic strokes have an abrupt onset. A person can be fine one minute, and the next there’s a profound change. He or she can’t move an arm or a leg, can’t talk or has a sudden, severe headache. Shortly the person becomes unresponsive. For 50 percent of people with a hemorrhagic stroke, death is the final step, and it often comes quickly.
Differentiating a stroke caused by bleeding from one caused by artery plugging is not something for an untrained person to attempt. Confronted by someone who has the signs of a stroke, an untrained person should call for immediate help.
As Mrs. R.A. points out, high blood pressure is one of the most common medical conditions responsible for a hemorrhagic stroke. Prevention of these lethal strokes depends on knowing what your blood pressure is. Keeping blood pressure in the normal range is the best way to prevent them. The trouble with high blood pressure is that it seldom produces any signs until it’s too late.
The booklet on stroke presents the different kinds, their treatment and their prevention. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 902W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853- 6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 with the recipient’s printed name and address.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am an 82-year-old man with a history of two cancers, prostate and bladder, two knee replacements and lots of osteoarthritis. In spite of all that, I’m in good shape. I work out every day, I tour by bicycle 20 to 25 miles in a day, and I’ve lots of energy.
About four months ago, the strangest thing started happening to me. Every time I eat, my nose starts to run. It’s not a real problem, but it mystifies me. Why does it happen? — D.M.
ANSWER: It is strange, and it has a name — gustatory rhinitis, a classy way of saying “runny nose when you eat.” Hot and spicy foods often provoke the reaction. Some consider it a reflex that has no useful purpose. If you’re going out to eat and don’t want to be embarrassed, taking an antihistamine about an hour before the meal might work. The nasal spray Astelin has a good reputation for stopping the drip. Don’t use these every day. Save them for a special occasion.
Readers may write Dr. Donohue or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
©2012 North America Synd.