Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said long ago in ancient times, “Suddenly a healthy person is seized with head pain, immediately the voice fails, he snores, and the mouth is open (gapes), and if someone calls or moves, he only groans, nothing with meaning.” He was describing apoplexy, which came to be called stroke around the 1700s.
Though doctors now understand the causes and effects of a stroke, the condition hasn’t always been well understood. Even now. Apoplexy, or stroke, is a disorder in which a person falls with no warning yet retaining pulse and respiration.
In all that time, doctors still don’t everything? Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the first in disability around the world. Well, it’s time to bring stroke forward to the front burner!
One of the things about which the doctors are puzzled is fatigue. Take me, for example. I need to nap sometimes, less often because I’m taking Vitamin B12, the energy booster. But if I feel a nap about to happen, I don’t want to take a nap because it means later bedtime. Rather, I need to take a nap.
I asked the pharmacist if any of my medicines could add to the fatigue which is becoming more prevalent recently.
“I see here on the screen that you didn’t change medications for a few years. So why are you tired recently?”
He was no help. And no, it’s not COVID. I was tested–twice recently.
The American Heart Association claims, “Fatigue is frequent and often severe, even late after stroke. It is associated with profound deterioration of several aspects of everyday life and with higher case fatality, but it usually receives little attention by healthcare professionals. Intervention studies are needed.”
And so it goes, study after study, that healthcare professionals admit more studies on Post-Stroke Fatigue (PSF) are needed, but few, if any, are being done.
From the National Institutes of Health (NIH): “There are some data that point to right hemispheric strokes being the cause of PSF. Damage to the brainstem has also been linked to fatigue. However, fatigue is so prevalent in the general population of stroke victims, the two types of stroke…do not completely explain the cause.”
The NIH also goes on to say, “Fatigue may improve with time, but it can also be persistent and some patients may never be completely free of it. Tasks that may have come easily before the stroke may be harder and therefore require more energy than they previously would.”
I’ve done a formula and the result is this: compared to what I used to do, before the stroke, it now takes 3 times as long than the prior.
So I guess we have to wait longer for the “why” role fatigue plays in most stroke survivors’ lives. I don’t know how much longer, but it won’t be tomorrow, or next month.
For cryin’ out loud, my brain automatically says.