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This post is a change from the usual, which I needed, having researched and wrote about urination and constipation in my last two posts. Give this girl a break! They were important to write about and nobody else seemed to be doing it, but c’mon. Thus, a change from the usual.

So I was always fascinated with the derivation of words. I probably should have taken Latin in high school, but I didn’t, being too occupied by the male gender and taking as little effort as possible with my studies. That’s why I went to Temple University. Everybody gets in to Temple. 

Anyway, because of my love for the written word, and finding writing easy, I had a column in the local paper, Teen Scene, at the tender age of 16. I got paid $10 a column in the mid-60s which was a lot of money for me back then. I went on to many other opportunities including columns at other local papers when I was in my twenties and a freelance gig with a consumer column in the The Philadelphia Daily News and articles in The Inquirer when I was in my thirties. I tell you all this because writing came effortless to me, and it was the one thing which made me proud to be a writer. I went on to many other jobs, but they all involved writing. Thus, my magnetism to the written word was notable. 

So I always wondered about the word “stroke” and its derivation after a few years of depression when I had a stroke. I wondered but didn’t do anything about it until now. So here is what I found, compliments of Johns Hopkins Health Library

In ancient Greece over 2400 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, first knew of “stroke” who referred to it as apoplexia, a term meaning “struck down by violence.”  In the mid-1600s, Jacob Wepfer discovered that patients who died with apoplexia also had bleeding in the brain and realized that a blockage in one of the brain’s blood vessels could cause apoplexia. Apoplexy, as the term was used more in centuries that ensued, meant that a person suddenly developed paralysis and a variety of changes in appearance and mood. At that time, doctors had no or little knowledge of paralysis and the brain.  

The science of medicine at times continued to study the cause, symptoms, and treatment of apoplexy when in 1928, apoplexy was divided into categories, based on the source of the problems with the blood vessel. This progression evolved to the term “cerebral vascular accident” (CVA). CVAs were referred to as a “brain attack” to note a lack of blood supply to the brain, similar to a heart attack which is caused by a lack of blood supply to the heart. Brain attack also suggested an immediate emergency procedure.

The original Greek terminology, “struck down by violence,” (it  could have been called “struck”) eventually turned into “stroke” (or apoplexy, which means the same thing as stroke), and apoplexy became “old school” in the 20th century. Doctors still say CVA, but stroke became the usual term with the general public. 

Doctors most often recommend to stop smoking, a healthy diet low in sodium and plenty fruits and vegetables (fruits are higher in carbohydrates than vegetables, so think about that if you’re watching your carb intake), and exercise at least 3 to 4 days a week for at least 40 minutes a day. For stroke survivors who have trouble doing the 40 minutes all at once, most PTs (physical therapists) say break the 40 into smaller intervals until your endurance can handle 40 minutes at one time.

While a stroke can’t always be prevented–I got my stroke from lousy genes, Protein S Deficiency, which messes with coagulation and clots–taking these guidelines can only help reduce your stroke risk as much as possible besides leading you to a more healthy lifestyle. In addition, it may help you avoid another stroke if you’ve already had one. 
Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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5 years ago

Great article! Thankyou for acknowledging that not all stroke is preventable though it makes obvious sense to limit your risk-factors!

Joyce Hoffman
5 years ago

Write to me at [email protected]. I may have some suggestions.

5 years ago

thank you for your article i found it very interesting i suffered a massive stroke in may of 2017 i still do not have use of my left hand and arm i live on my own and find life very frustrating and difficult lost my home job and my drivers licence can be very depressing some days

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