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May is a month that is also another one that is near and dear to my heart. Go Grey in May! But, what does that mean exactly? Well.. may is bringing awareness for brain diseases, cancers, etc…
I first want to start off with a little background and why Going Grey In May is so important to me and my family as well.
Maybe, some of you have read this in one of my other posts, about being a donor. Although, some of you may have no idea what I am talking about.. for that I apologize and will explain.
In December of 2014, my families world was rocked and put on a roller coaster ride that we could have never seen coming. My father passed away with brain bleeds, and eventually, his brain could not take anymore and he went brain dead. But, I am starting to get ahead of myself a little bit… let me start at the beginning of his journey.
He started off by having headaches, he was a strong guy so he just pushed them aside and thought nothing of it. That is until November, they started getting worse for him and he ended up taking some time away from work.. (now I would like to explain here, my father never ever took a day off work) He was in so much pain, and could barely open his eyes. I hated seeing my father like this. He was taken into the hospital and misdiagnosed for a sinus infection, he was told to go home and use a neti-pot to drain his sinuses. Well, this misdiagnosis cost him his life–on December 1st my dad had a stroke and was rushed to the hospital. He had so many blood clots on his brain we were told by the ER doctor “this is a very sick man, we will do the best we can, but it will be an up and down process for now” We sat in the ICU with my dad every day, he had several surgeries and they watched his brain closely. We waited two weeks for good news, and in a way, it was (he went to be home with the Lord and was not suffering here on earth anymore) With that being said… he also wants here with his family anymore, we had to say goodbye.
Now, why do I tell everyone this story?? I believe it is so important to bring awareness to this. Our brains do so much for us, and without our brains.. well.. it is hard to function. This is why I tell everyone, you know your body, if something isn’t right, get it checked out!!! No one knows what is going on inside you, but you, sometimes these things are easy to see, but other times they are not.
Bringing Awareness to all things Brain;
- Ischemic stroke
- Hemorrhagic stroke
- Transient Ischemic attack (TIA)
- Epilepsy/ seizure disorders
- Brain Cancer
- Post Concussion Syndrome
- Intracerebral hemorrhage
- Brain Tumor
- Pseudotumor cerebri (false brain tumor)
- Brain Aneurysm
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Huntington’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Brain Disease Trauma
- Brain Trauma
- Brain Damage
Now I know these are not all of them, I may be missing some. Although, the ones that I do have here I want to help bring more awareness too and explain a little bit about each one. Again, it is sooo very important to advocate for yourself, and remember only you know your body! No one else! If something feels wrong, or out of the ordinary, the best option is to get it checked out. There are so many different types of brain diseases too; there are ones that can be caused by an infection. There are brain diseases that can be caused by seizures, or brain trauma and damage. Then there are those brain diseases that are tumors, masses, or increased pressure in one’s brain. Then there are the brain diseases that are caused by the blood vessels in someone’s body and are otherwise known as vascular conditions. There are auto-immune and neurodegenerative conditions. There are so many, and your brain needs you to know your symptoms and know what to do; so I am going to try to break down all the conditions and each type the very best I can.
When you see these words; what do you think of? Well, first let me tell you what some of these brain conditions can consist off. These are of the following;
- Alzheimer’s; This is a brain disorder that causes the brain cells to basically waste away and die. People that have this disease experience brain/memory loss. They have behavioral and social skills that disrupt their ability to be able to function independently. The main symptom of this disease that most people notice is memory loss.
- Dementia; Dementia is not a specific disease, it is a group of symptoms that can affect one’s memory, thinking, personality, reasoning, and mood. This is also considered a late-in-life disease. Most people that have this get it in their late 60’s to 70’s. This will also become severe enough, that it will interfere with ones daily living.
- ALS ( Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) ALS which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is one that affects a person’s nervous system. This will weaken their muscles and impact their ability to function physically. This disease mostly affects nerve cells in someone’s brain and their spinal cord.
- Parkinsons Disease; This is a nervous system disorder that affects all movement. Tremors are the most common and what is seen by people, also stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Pick’s Disease: Associated with shrinking of the frontal and temporal anterior lobes of the brain.
- Huntington’s Disease: Is a progressive brain disorder that causes uncontrollable movements, loss of cognition, and also emotional problems.
Vascular (blood vessel) Conditions
- Ischemic Stroke: This can occur because the brain arteries get blocked or become narrow, this reduces the blood flow.
- Transient Ischemic Stroke (TIA): This is a very brief episode that is stroke-like. This will usually resolve in minutes to hours. However, it is also very important that you go in and get it checked out, to make sure that it is not a stroke.
- Hemorrhagic: This is when the blood from the brains artery starts to bleed into the brain. This is an emergency type of stroke and you should seek medical attention immediately. What can happen is there can be weakened blood vessels that can burst and leak into the brain, causing the damaged area to function properly.
- Brain Aneurysm: This can happen when there is a bulge in the brains blood vessel, and it continues to fill up with blood. This blood vessel can start bleeding or rupture causing more bleeding in the brain. This can occur in the space between the brain and the thin tissues covering the brain.
- Hematomas: A localized bleeding outside of the blood vessels, this can happen due to a disease or a brain trauma.
- Subdural: There is a pool of blood in the outermost part of the brain. Symptoms can include; a headache, vomiting and a hematoma. This can be very life-threatening, so you will want to seek medical attention immediately. They are usually caused by injuries such as a fall, an accident, or even an assault. The blow to the head is what causes a pool of blood in the brain.
- Epidural: These typically occur when there are a skull fracture tears an underlying blood vessel.
- Encephalitis: Often due to an infection, it will cause inflammation in the brain. The biggest cause for people that get this can be from a viral infection.
- Meningitis: An inflammation and swelling of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and the brain. This can happen with a viral or bacterial infection that causes fluid to appear and usually causes swelling. Can be deadly and requires immediate medical attention.
- Brain abscess: A collection of pus that collects in the brain due to an infection.
- Epilepsy: A neurological disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal. Due to this people will have seizures, periods of behavior that seems unusual. There are all different kinds of episodes that can come with epilepsy. Some may stare blankly for just a few seconds. Then there are others who have to twitch with their arms and legs for several seconds, or minutes. During a seizure, the brain cells will fire up uncontrollably up to four times of what can be anyone else’s normal rate.
- Seizure episodes/non-epileptic seizures: These type of seizures are usually classified into two major groups, physiologic and psychogenic. Those that have these type of episodes feel sensations like that of an epileptic one. These seizures are not caused by electrical disruptions in the brain.
- Concussion: This is a brain injury that is usually called with a blow to the head. Also violently shaking the head and upper body can cause a concussion. Effects can be headaches, loss of memory, loss of balance & coordination.
- Hemorrhage: The escape of blood from a broken blood vessel. Those that experience a brain hemorrhage have stroke-like symptoms.
- Brain Injury: This results with a big blow or jolt to the head. A brain injury can be traumatic and result in long term complications and sometimes even death.
Increase Pressure, Tumors & Masses
- Tumor: An abnormal growth of cells inside the brain or skull. They can either be benign or malignant, they grow from the brain tissue itself. There are several different types of tumors and they are all classified in different ways.
- Pseudo Tumor Cerebri (False tumor): This is a disorder that is known to be quite rare. This is also known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, related to high pressure in the brain. This causes signs and symptoms of a brain tumor.
- Hydrocephalus: This is a build-up of fluid in the brain cavities that deep within the brain. The name is derived from two words hydro- meaning water, and cephalus meaning the brain. The fluid comes from a leak in the Cerebral spinal fluid (CFS). This build-up of cerebrospinal fluid causes a lot of pressure in the head.
- Glioblastoma: This is a malignant tumor that affects the brain and the spine. This is the most aggressive of cancers that start in the brain. They are usually found in the cerebral hemisphere but are also known to be in other parts of the brain.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS): This is a disease in which the immune system will begin to eat away at the protective covering of one’s nerves. This disorder can cause a variety of symptoms, and they can flare up at any time. This can affect all of their nerves in their body, which at times can cause a person to not be able to walk, and become wheelchair bound.
- Vasculitis: An inflammation of blood vessels that can cause poor blood flow in one’s body. The range can be mild for some or life threatning. Due to the poor blood flow this can cause damamge to ones tissues, or organs, such as; heart, kidney, lungs, brain, etc…
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