Chris DeWald: Strokes and vision

Long time, no see to my welcome readers. Some medical conditions that caused our strokes can slowly start diminishing our eyesight. I am again your prime example.  The reason for my strokes was severe cerebral arteriosclerosis.

According to www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_arteriosclerosis/cerebral_arteriosclerosis.htm, cerebral arteriosclerosis is the result of thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries in the brain. Symptoms of cerebral arteriosclerosis include headache, facial pain, and impaired vision.

Cerebral arteriosclerosis can cause serious health problems. If the walls of an artery are too thick, or a blood clot becomes caught in the narrow passage, blood flow to the brain can become blocked and cause an ischemic stroke. When the thickening and hardening is uneven, arterial walls can develop bulges (called aneurysms). If a bulge ruptures, bleeding in the brain can cause a hemorrhagic stroke. Both types of stroke can be fatal.

Cerebral arteriosclerosis is also related to a condition known as vascular dementia, in which small, symptom-free strokes cause cumulative damage and death to neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. Personality changes in the elderly, such as apathy, weeping, transient befuddlement, or irritability, might indicate that cerebral arteriosclerosis is present in the brain. Computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain can help reveal the presence of cerebral arteriosclerosis before ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes, or vascular dementia develop.

According to www.netplaces.com/migraines/when-its-not-a-migraine/cardiovascular-disorders.htm, The heart and blood vessels keep the nerve pathways of the brain and central nervous system supplied with oxygen-rich blood. When those vessels become blocked, inflamed, or damaged, they can cut off this blood supply and permanently damage nerve fibers and cause infarction, or death, of brain tissue. In people with a history of heart and circulatory problems, sudden or severe head pain can be a sign of more serious problems and should be immediately evaluated by a physician or emergency health care professional.

Constantly going to these sites can also make you ill.  Yes, after you learn about yourself and learn to accept what you have, it can be burdensome.  Last year I had 20/200 vision, this year I now have 20/400 vision.  I wish I can find some article that says 400 is better than 200 in items other than cash.  Yes I have found that most sites I go to advise me of the headaches caused by lack of blood flow in the brain.  I also wonder how many of you get the spasticity effects of an artery that causes intense pain and you can’t sit up.  I have to go into a reclining position when I spasm.  So if this sounds like you, it can happen and it happens to me.  I have not written in a substantial amount of time due to these vision episodes.  I want to thank the computer people for the ability to increase the size of the screen.

The reason for today’s article is to remind those with arteriosclerosis of the brain does not mean the end of the world.  You can make it the end, but who wins?  I happen to have a local Ophthalmologist that explains this horrid disease in a way I can understand and maybe I can do it in laymen’s terms for you.  My eyes are “viable”, which means the eyes “itself” are great.  He can see the issues in my eyes by those flash pictures he takes and also by a magnifying eyeglass on an eyeglass on an eyeglass.  What is wrong is that my “vision” screen, like a movie screen”, seems to be now like an old outdoor drive in movie screen rather than a healthy 3-D indoor theatre screen.  He did not even give me popcorn. This is caused by lack of blood flow and it is going by the way of old drive in theatres from the disease.  From reading about strokes, I knew it was a possibility but it took from 2006 until last year before I knew it was going to be a problem.

Is this an excuse to throw in the towel?  No it is not.  Stand up and be counted.  If you are experiencing what I have written about, ask about programs designed to live a near normal life.  Take action before you make it more difficult for yourself or others.  My ophthalmologist made a referral for me to start adjusting new ways through local education.  It is best to start while you have some sight.  If not, still learn to win!

I wish I could explain my referrals but these educational opportunities may not be available for some.  This is why you need to ask your physicians (all of them) what options you can receive.

There are groups, clubs and organization for the blind that can lend suggestions or help.  Ask because there are medical doctors that I have had in my life that regarded me as a number.  This has never been the case on all the “individual” physicians I have had.  Hospitals are not included.

In Staunton, transportation that is free is the trolley system and a service for transportation that is abbreviated CATS.  I use it and they have been quite a wonderful way to get around since I am no longer allowed to operate a motor vehicle.

My last words … never give up!


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