Posted in cell phones, Health, news, smart devices

SmartPhones Again Linked to Temporary Blindness or “Eye Strokes”

Two new cases of “smartphone blindness” has been described in the last month.   One case was a gentleman in China who was playing games on his phone at night and suffered a retinal artery occlusion or “eye stroke”.
Another case was a woman in China, who was also playing on her phone at night but she sustained a bleed in her left eye.  
Just as those who suffer from cerebral strokes, a “lack of blood flow” to the retina, or layer of the eye that helps create visual images, can be caused by a clot or hemorrhage.  Apparently these can be induced with excessive focusing and eye strain.
This may result in temporary or permanent blindness.
Updated from June 23, 2016
Some people are being evaluated for stroke or transient ischemic attacks when they come to the ER complaining of recurrent “temporary blindness” after checking their smartphone in the dark.  This phenomenon, known as ‘smartphone blindness’, has been experienced by many of us when we have the sensation of dimmed vision or poor visual acuity, feeling punished for peeking at our email when we should be sleeping.

 

In 2016, doctors reviewed the cases of two women who experienced episodes of “temporary blindness”; as the ladies put their cell phone down, one eye could not see the cell phone for 15 minutes.  Their vision restored after this length of time.Doctors investigated the cases thoroughly with a variety of medical tests including MRI’s and couldn’t find the cause.

Finally they conclude these transient episodes of “vision loss” were harmless, in that one eye was being used to look at the phone and the other eye needed time to “catch up”.  When the women, as many of us do, check our phones, one eye is snugly closed and resting on a pillow while the other is available to look at the phone.  When the ladies would turn over, the closed eye didn’t have a chance to catch up to the increased brightness of the phone screen, hence having a dimmed view.

If one uses both eyes to look at the screen, this phenomenon does not happen.

Smartphone Blindness Studies Are Cause For Concern

Studies surfaced a few years ago where great lengths of smartphone use can cause retinal detachment.  In these cases the layer of the retina which focuses images, detaches from the back of the eye, causing serious vision loss.  Though there are treatments, if not treated early can cause permanent blindness in the affected eye since the retina loses its blood and oxygen supply when detached.  A woman from China had been using her smartphone for 2-3 hours in the dark each night when this occurred.

Smartphones have also been linked to myopia, nearsightedness and sleeping disorders as the blue light emitted from the screen can disrupt melatonin production.

A recent study found that 30% of adults spend more than 9 hours a day using their smartphone. Physicians recommend avoiding extended use, adjust settings to black text on white background, and with this recent case study, use both eyes to look at the screen when using the phone at night.

Increasing the size of the font helps your eyes since they don’t need to strain as much to read.  Try to look at your smartphone with a distance of 1 1/2 feet. Blinking often helps rest the eyes as well and keeps them lubricated and moist.

Additionally, avoid using the phone in the dark, but in a lit room.

 

Finally its good to use the 20,20,20 rule.  After every 20 minutes of use, look away at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  This may help avoid eyestrain from excessive smartphone use.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, medications, news

Experts Warn Against Taking Aspirin When Not Recommended by Provider

Harvard researchers warn that 30 million Americans are taking aspirin for prevention of heart disease when they could be putting themselves at risk for other serious diseases.

They estimate that 1/5 of these individuals took aspirin on their own without a doctor’s order.

Although aspirin use is recommended for secondary prevention of future heart attacks and ischemic stroke in those at risk of having a future episode, primary prevention (in those who have never had an attack) is still debated.

One study last year found minimal benefit if at all for primary prevention in low risk individuals.  Many experts say the risk of gastrointestinal bleed, heart disease, hemorrhagic stroke and kidney disease outweigh the benefits.

The latest guidelines from the American College of Cardiology states the following in terms of aspirin for prevention of heart disease:

For decades, low-dose aspirin (75-100 mg with US 81 mg/day) has been widely administered for ASCVD prevention. By irreversibly inhibiting platelet function, aspirin reduces risk of atherothrombosis but at the risk of bleeding, particularly in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Aspirin is well established for secondary prevention of ASCVD and is widely recommended for this indication, but recent studies have shown that in the modern era, aspirin should not be used in the routine primary prevention of ASCVD due to lack of net benefit. Most important is to avoid aspirin in persons with increased risk of bleeding including a history of GI bleeding or peptic ulcer disease, bleeding from other sites, age >70 years, thrombocytopenia, coagulopathy, chronic kidney disease, and concurrent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and anticoagulants. The following are recommendations based on meta-analysis and three recent trials:
  • Low-dose aspirin might be considered for primary prevention of ASCVD in select higher ASCVD adults aged 40-70 years who are not at increased bleeding risk.
  • Low-dose aspirin should not be administered on a routine basis for primary prevention of ASCVD among adults >70 years.
  • Low-dose aspirin should not be administered for primary prevention among adults at any age who are at increased bleeding risk.

___________________________

A report published in the American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Statistics annual report cite 48% of US adults have some type of cardiovascular disease.

The uptick could be due to rising obesity, and lowering thresholds for diagnosing guidelines such as high blood pressure (now considered high if over 130/80).

Although smoking rates have declined over the years, many still use tobacco and recent research has found E-cigs to increase risk of heart attack and stroke by 70%.

 

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when an area of the brain does not get the proper oxygen and blood flow it needs. There are two major types of stroke:  ischemic and hemorrhagic.

Ischemic strokes are more common than the latter and occur when a clot prevents blood flow to part of the brain.  80% of all strokes fall under ischemic.  It is a likened to a heart attack, except the brain tissue is being deprived of blood and nutrients.  Plaques commonly arise from arteriosclerosis that break off travel to the smaller vessels of the brain.

Hemorrhagic strokes are less common and occur when there is a bleed of one of the brain vessels.  The bleed prevents blood flow into the brain since it is seeping outside the brain tissue, causing damage to nearby cells.  The bleeds could occur from high blood pressure or aneurysms that rupture.

 

What are the signs of a stroke?

Since a clot or bleed usually affect one area of the brain, we see symptoms on one side of the body, many times its contralateral (opposite) side.  We can also see central effects.  The symptoms of stroke include the following:

  • Weakness of one side of the body
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision issues
  • Headache
  • Facial droop

and more…..

 

How are strokes treated?

If the stroke was caused by a clot (ischemic) immediate treatment includes dissolving/removing the clot.   Aspirin is used initially and if within the proper time frame, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).  These clots can also be surgically removed and arteries widened to bring blood flow to the brain.

With a hemorrhagic  stroke, we need to stop the bleed and improve flow to the brain.  Controlling the bleed, bypassing the vessel, “clogging” the aneurysm with techniques such as “coiling” (endovascular embolization) are sometimes utilized.

Time is of the essence, so its crucial to identify the warning signs and call 911 immediately.  The American Stroke Association uses the acronym “FAST” (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911).  The sooner a stroke victim receives medical attention the better the prognosis.

 

fast

COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION

 

What are the risk factors for stroke?

The following put us at risk of having a stroke.

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease (artery clogging, such as the heart and carotid arteries)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation
  • Smoking
  • Drugs
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Clotting disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Being older (greater than 55)
  • African-Americans appear to be more at risk than Caucasians and Hispanics
  • Men seem to be more affected than women

 

How do we prevent strokes?

Avoid the following:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Drug use
  • Tobacco products
  • Control blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol
  • Get evaluated by a medical provider if at risk for heart disease or stroke.

 

Preventing Heart Disease

Firstly, we must know our risk factors. These include:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Personal history of heart disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Males over 40
  • Females who are post menopausal
  • High stress

and even short stature has been cited as a potential risk factor.

As you can see, many of us can be at risk for heart disease.  Therefore secondly, we should be evaluated with an EKG, echocardiogram and any other exams our medical provider and/or cardiologist deem necessary.

Thirdly, reduce your risk by the following:

  • Maintain a normal blood pressure
  • Maintain normal blood sugar
  • Maintain normal cholesterol and lipid levels
  • Reduce stress
  • Maintain a balanced diet, rich in potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables
  • Quit smoking
  • Stay active
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

 

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Great Gift!!!

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news

“White Coat Hypertension” Should Not be Ignored

Years ago I explained how a spike in blood pressure at the sight of a doctor’s “white coat” could be sign of poorly controlled blood pressure, putting one at risk of stroke, retinopathy, heart disease and kidney damage, but the medical consensus, at the time, felt it was “benign.”  My argument was if a white coat makes one’s blood pressure spike, so could a G-string, bank hold up, or call from a mother-in-law, suggesting one’s blood pressure may be spiking throughout the day. Catching this spike during a routine doctor’s visit could be lifesaving. Now a study agrees that “White Coat Hypertension (‘WCH)” can put one at higher risk of heart disease and should NOT be ignored.

Researchers in the Annals of Internal Medicine found untreated WCH put one at increased risk for cardiovascular death.

They write:

 …untreated WCH was associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events (hazard ratio [HR], 1.36 [95% CI, 1.03 to 2.00]), all-cause mortality (HR, 1.33 [CI, 1.07 to 1.67]), and cardiovascular mortality (HR, 2.09 [CI, 1.23 to 4.48]); the risk of WCH was attenuated in studies that included stroke in the definition of cardiovascular events (HR, 1.26 [CI, 1.00 to 1.54]). No significant association was found between treated WCE and cardiovascular events (HR, 1.12 [CI, 0.91 to 1.39]), all-cause mortality (HR, 1.11 [CI, 0.89 to 1.46]), or cardiovascular mortality (HR, 1.04 [CI, 0.65 to 1.66]). The findings persisted across several sensitivity analyses.

They recommend, therefore, “out of office” blood pressure monitoring if WCH is suspected, as do I.

Last year a study found that WCH affects at least 30% of Americans, could signify significant disease.

“White Coat Hypertension” is believed to be a temporary spike in which blood pressure will rise either systolically (the pumping pressure) or diastolically (the filling pressure) or both.  Damage to brain tissue, heart, eyes, kidneys and other organs can occur during these spikes.

Study author, Dr. Raymond Townsend, director of the hypertension program at Penn Medicine, states, “We encourage our patients to do blood pressure readings at home. That is a good way to not only monitor blood pressure where you actually “live”, but it also provides a lot of insight for patients to understand how life’s little indiscretions, like take-out Chinese with extra soy sauce, can truly affect your blood pressure the next day,” reported in a piece by NBC News.

24 hour monitoring can be done at home or at work where one monitors their blood pressure throughout the day and night, allowing the medical provider to identify spikes that may be missed during a 15 minute office visit.

New Blood Pressure Guidelines Introduced Last Fall

High blood pressure has now been redefined as being greater than 130/80 mmHg, down from 140/90 mmHg.  This will mean close to 103 million more Americans will fall under the “hypertensive” category.

Multiple agencies, including the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, redefined the guidelines, in practice for the last 14 years, to lower the threshold for high blood pressure from 140/90 to 130/80.

Under the old guidelines, 1/3 of US Americans were considered to have high blood pressure.  Now 42% of Americans will be “hypertensive”.

In lowering the guidelines, task force members hope to reduce complications associated with high blood pressure and start treatment earlier in those who have not been treated.

blood+pressure+chart

 

What do the blood pressure numbers mean?

The top number, or systolic pressure, is the pressure the heart exudes during a beat or pumping of the blood.

Diastolic pressure is the pressure in your arteries between beats while the heart is “filling”.

Both numbers are equally important as elevation of either can increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

What can long term high blood pressure do?

Chronic high blood pressure can be dangerous.  It may cause:

  • Heart attacks
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Dementia
  • Eye damage – vision loss
  • Erectile dysfunction…to name a few.

How do we treat high blood pressure?

The stages of blood pressure are defined in the chart above.  At the elevated or early stages of high blood pressure the following lifestyle changes will be recommended:

  • Weight loss
  • Low salt diet
  • Low fat diet
  • Good sleep habits
  • Regular exercise
  • Avoiding tobacco products
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

As a family physician I would also screen for diabetes, high cholesterol, low thyroid, kidney disease and sleep apnea.

If blood pressure cannot be controlled and continues to rise, medications may be prescribed to decrease blood volume, or lower the heart rate, or relax the blood vessels.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Luke Perry of 90210 Dies at Age 52 After Suffering Major Stroke

Beverly Hills 90210 actor, Luke Perry, passed away Monday, days after suffering a massive stroke in his home in Sherman Oaks.

luke-perry-beverly-hills-90210-tv-1990-photo-GC.jpg

Luke Perry as Dylan McKay of Beverly Hills, 90210

He’s survived by his fiancee Wendy Madison Bauer, and children Jack, 21 and Sophie, 18.

His publicist, @KateAurthur tweeted the following:

D01SoXEVAAAbWOk

This is a developing story.

 

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when an area of the brain does not get the proper oxygen and blood flow it needs. There are two major types of stroke:  ischemic and hemorrhagic.

Ischemic strokes are more common than the latter and occur when a clot prevents blood flow to part of the brain.  80% of all strokes fall under ischemic.  It is a likened to a heart attack, except the brain tissue is being deprived of blood and nutrients.  Plaques commonly arise from arteriosclerosis that break off travel to the smaller vessels of the brain.

Hemorrhagic strokes are less common and occur when there is a bleed of one of the brain vessels.  The bleed prevents blood flow into the brain since it is seeping outside the brain tissue, causing damage to nearby cells.  The bleeds could occur from high blood pressure or aneurysms that rupture.

 

What are the signs of a stroke?

Since a clot or bleed usually affect one area of the brain, we see symptoms on one side of the body, many times its contralateral (opposite) side.  We can also see central effects.  The symptoms of stroke include the following:

  • Weakness of one side of the body
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision issues
  • Headache
  • Facial droop
  • Tongue that deviates to one side

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image by grepmed

and more…..

 

How are strokes treated?

If the stroke was caused by a clot (ischemic) immediate treatment includes dissolving/removing the clot.   Aspirin is used initially and if within the proper time frame, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).  These clots can also be surgically removed and arteries widened to bring blood flow to the brain.

With a hemorrhagic  stroke, we need to stop the bleed and improve flow to the brain.  Controlling the bleed, bypassing the vessel, “clogging” the aneurysm with techniques such as “coiling” (endovascular embolization) are sometimes utilized.

Time is of the essence, so its crucial to identify the warning signs and call 911 immediately.  The American Stroke Association uses the acronym “FAST” (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911).  The sooner a stroke victim receives medical attention the better the prognosis.

 

fast

COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION

 

What are the risk factors for stroke?

The following put us at risk of having a stroke.

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease (artery clogging, such as the heart and carotid arteries)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation
  • Smoking
  • Drugs
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Clotting disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Being older (greater than 55)
  • African-Americans appear to be more at risk than Caucasians and Hispanics
  • Men seem to be more affected than women

 

How do we prevent strokes?

Avoid the following:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Drug use
  • Tobacco products
  • Control blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol
  • Get evaluated by a medical provider if at risk for heart disease or stroke.

 

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The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Online Dating

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, marijuana, news

Marijuana Lollipop Suspected in Heart Attack Case

For years studies have found marijuana use to increase risk of heart disease and stroke. Now a marijuana lollipop has been linked to a man’s heart attack.

Treating his arthritis and insomnia, an 70-year old man licked a marijuana lollipop and within a half hour experienced crushing chest pain.  The lollipop contained 90 mcg of THC, which is multiple times more potent than an average joint, according to Fox News.

They report he experienced hallucinations and anxiety which led to a spike in his heart rate and blood pressure thereby stressing the heart.  Fortunately he survived.

 

heart-issues-due-to-using-synthetic-marijuana-spice-k2

The lollipop was not intended to be a single use edible but many find it unsanitary to lick a few times and save for later.

Many studies have linked marijuana use to heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.

In 2017, Dr. Aditi Kalla and colleagues from Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia analyzed 20 million health records of patients who were hospitalized in 2009 and 2010 and found those who used marijuana (1.5% of the patients studied) were at high risk of coronary artery disease, sudden cardiac death, heart failure and stroke.

What’s even more striking is the patients were younger, aged 18-55. Risk factors including obesity, high blood pressure, alcohol use and smoking were already taken into account.

One theory for the link between heart disease/stroke and marijuana use is that cannabis may affect the cardiac muscle cell’s ability to contract, affecting the pumping mechanism of the heart, thereby leading to heart failure. Another theory is marijuana, like cigarette smoking, may be increasing risk of clots.  Below is a report on a study linking marijuana use to Transient Ventricular Regional Ballooning (TVRB). This can also lead to heart failure. Another theory suggests cannabis causes a release of stress hormones, such as cortisol.

In 2016 study out of St. Luke’s University Hospital Network found marijuana to cause stress cardiomyopathy.  This is a temporary condition that causes a “ballooning” of a region of the ventricle known as Transient Ventricular Regional Ballooning (TVRB).  We know that many drugs can cause cardiomyopathy (affect the heart muscle) such as cocaine and stimulants causing dilated cardiomyopathy, but this is new in that a sedating type of drug such as cannabis/marijuana, can cause similar effects on the heart.

The condition of TVRB can mimic many different heart conditions because it presents with chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness.  So many individuals admitted for these symptoms are evaluated for a heart attack, angina, pneumonia, and a variety of other diagnoses.

In this study, the researchers looked at data from 33,000 hospital admissions who had TVRB and saw a link between 210 of these admissions and marijuana use.  They are unsure how marijuana affects the heart, but theorize that it could be an increase in cortisol and stress hormones.  Although none of the marijuana users in this study died, the TVRB can cause cardiac arrest, heart attack.

History of Lollipops

For centuries civilizations had found ways to satisfy our sweet tooth.  Ancient Egyptians would mix nuts, fruit and herbs into a ball that could be skewered with a stick.  Putting candy on a stick was common as it allowed a sticky sugary or carmelized treat to be eaten easily.

However the modern style lollipop we believe was invented by George Smith of New Haven, CT in 1908.

The name “Lollipop” was trademarked in 1931 after he reportedly named the candy after a popular race horse, “Lolly Pop.”

 

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Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

Posted in Health

Half of Americans at Risk for a Heart Attack

A report published in the American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Statistics annual report cite 48% of US adults have some type of cardiovascular disease.

The uptick could be due to rising obesity, and lowering thresholds for diagnosing guidelines such as high blood pressure (now considered high if over 130/80).

Although smoking rates have declined over the years, many still use tobacco and recent research has found E-cigs to increase risk of heart attack and stroke by 70%.

 

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when an area of the brain does not get the proper oxygen and blood flow it needs. There are two major types of stroke:  ischemic and hemorrhagic.

Ischemic strokes are more common than the latter and occur when a clot prevents blood flow to part of the brain.  80% of all strokes fall under ischemic.  It is a likened to a heart attack, except the brain tissue is being deprived of blood and nutrients.  Plaques commonly arise from arteriosclerosis that break off travel to the smaller vessels of the brain.

Hemorrhagic strokes are less common and occur when there is a bleed of one of the brain vessels.  The bleed prevents blood flow into the brain since it is seeping outside the brain tissue, causing damage to nearby cells.  The bleeds could occur from high blood pressure or aneurysms that rupture.

 

What are the signs of a stroke?

Since a clot or bleed usually affect one area of the brain, we see symptoms on one side of the body, many times its contralateral (opposite) side.  We can also see central effects.  The symptoms of stroke include the following:

  • Weakness of one side of the body
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision issues
  • Headache
  • Facial droop

and more…..

 

How are strokes treated?

If the stroke was caused by a clot (ischemic) immediate treatment includes dissolving/removing the clot.   Aspirin is used initially and if within the proper time frame, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).  These clots can also be surgically removed and arteries widened to bring blood flow to the brain.

With a hemorrhagic  stroke, we need to stop the bleed and improve flow to the brain.  Controlling the bleed, bypassing the vessel, “clogging” the aneurysm with techniques such as “coiling” (endovascular embolization) are sometimes utilized.

Time is of the essence, so its crucial to identify the warning signs and call 911 immediately.  The American Stroke Association uses the acronym “FAST” (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911).  The sooner a stroke victim receives medical attention the better the prognosis.

 

fast

COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION

 

What are the risk factors for stroke?

The following put us at risk of having a stroke.

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease (artery clogging, such as the heart and carotid arteries)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation
  • Smoking
  • Drugs
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Clotting disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Being older (greater than 55)
  • African-Americans appear to be more at risk than Caucasians and Hispanics
  • Men seem to be more affected than women

 

How do we prevent strokes?

Avoid the following:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Drug use
  • Tobacco products
  • Control blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol
  • Get evaluated by a medical provider if at risk for heart disease or stroke.

 

Preventing Heart Disease

Firstly, we must know our risk factors. These include:

Family history of heart disease

Personal history of heart disease

High Blood Pressure

High Cholesterol

Diabetes

Smoking

Obesity

Inactivity

Males over 40

Females who are post menopausal

High stress

and even short stature has been cited as a potential risk factor.

As you can see, many of us can be at risk for heart disease.  Therefore secondly, we should be evaluated with an EKG, echocardiogram and any other exams our medical provider and/or cardiologist deem necessary.

Thirdly, reduce your risk by the following:

Maintain a normal blood pressure

Maintain normal blood sugar

Maintain normal cholesterol and lipid levels

Reduce stress

Maintain a balanced diet, rich in potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables

Quit smoking

Stay active

Maintain a healthy weight.

 

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news

Slurred Speech? Most Common Causes

This week the FAA is investigating an incident in which an air traffic controller began slurring her speech while giving directions to flights coming into McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.

1 Mccarran International Airport Las Vegas shutterstock 82290895.jpg

Pilots began sensing something was wrong and one asked if there was anyone else present who knew what “they were doing.”

After giving incorrect instructions and coughing, the controller is heard apologizing saying, “Sorry, I’m chocking a little bit.”

A male air traffic controller eventually takes the com and assures other pilots he is taking over, but appears to leave momentarily to attend to the first controller.

The incident seemed to span over 40 minutes, as she began her shift at 10 pm and demonstrated speech issues and incoherent speech that progressed from approximately 11:10 pm – 11:50 pm until the new controller took over.

She was placed on administrative leave and the FAA ordered two air traffic controllers be present in the tower during peak times.

Fortunately no air traffic incidents occurred.  But many are wondering was this a medical incident or was she inebriated?

Causes of slurred speech

There are many causes of slurred speech (dysarthria).

Slurred speech is often associated with alcohol misuse.  However, there are multiple  medical issues that could cause one to not speak or form their words properly. These include:

  • Stroke, thrombotic (clot) or hemorrhagic
  • TIA (transient ischemic attack)
  • Seizure
  • Brain tumor
  • Brain injury – such as from a  fall or hit to the head
  • Brain infection
  • Drug use
  • Sedatives
  • Lyme Disease
  • Neurological disorders – such as multiple sclerosis
  • Migraine
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Narcolepsy
  • Syncopy, fainting
  • Carbon monoxide or other chemical poisoning
  • to name a few….

The fact that she was coughing and felt as if she was choking makes one think she might have lost consciousness at one point causing her to aspirate stomach acid/contents into her lungs.  But details surrounding her condition have  not yet been released.

This is a developing story.

Stroke Deaths Increasing, Warns CDC

 

dw sketch.jpg

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

She is also a Board Certified Family Physician and Assistant Professor at Touro University Nevada