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Prevent stroke from affecting your life

Time lost is brain lost'

It was in 2003 when Syracuse resident Joseph King, 64, experienced his first stroke. A second, more serious stroke occurred five years later in 2008.

Both landed him in a wheelchair as they affected his right leg and ability to walk. But each time, through support and specific treatment, he managed to get back on his feet with a cane.

After his stroke and hospitalization in 2008, King was admitted to The Brain Injury Center at St. Camillus. He spent more than four months rehabbing there. After his inpatient stay, he became a regular at St. Camillus' Adult Day Health Center. He's been there ever since. King said he has seen marked improvement since his initial visits.

His strokes, however, which were caused by hypertension, changed his life as he knew it. Having held a long-time career driving tractor-trailers long distance, he is no longer able to operate a vehicle. His speech, although coherent, is somewhat difficult to understand.

King is one of the lucky ones. He is a stroke survivor, and through proper medical attention, and with the love and support of his wife Judyette, his nine children and his six stepchildren, he means it when he says, "It's all good."

March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. Brain injuries don't discriminate. They can affect any one at any time and range from a concussion or stroke to injuries caused by a traumatic event. Over the next three weeks, The Eagle Bulletin will feature stories about brain injuries: the symptoms, the risk factors and prevention methods.

This week's focus is on strokes of which there are two types: ischemic or hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke is a loss of blood flow to an area of the brain while hemorrhagic is bleeding in the brain. Eighty-seven percent of strokes are ischemic; 13 percent are hemorrhagic. Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.

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