News/Blog

Wade Ohnheiser

A former patient, Wade Ohnheiser joined the staff at NBRRH. He is seen here receiving the “Passionate Patient Caregiver of the Month” award for February 2019.

Wade Ohnheiser, 44, was living a busy life when he suffered a stroke that changed his life forever. Prior to his stroke, Wade worked almost 80 hours per week for an architectural millwork firm. Wade designed, built, and installed custom granite cabinetry for large businesses. Although he lived a busy life, he knew he suffered from high blood pressure. Not feeling symptomatic, Wade didn’t feel the need to take his blood pressure medication. Ultimately, that caused his stroke.

Working in the garage, Wade began to feel different. His right arm and leg would not move and he was unable to speak correctly. Wade thought he was only suffering from exhaustion. Three hours later the symptoms hadn’t subsided. Wade’s family convinced him to go to the hospital. Upon arrival, his blood pressure was 248/198 and the doctors said he suffered from a left basal pontine stroke.

Once medically stable, Wade transferred to New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital for intense and aggressive therapy. As a result of the stroke, Wade could not walk or use his right hand. Wade was motivated to begin therapy, eager to regain the use of his right side. Wade also had difficulty with his speech, including thought patterns, word finding, and problem-solving.

Wade’s biggest motivation, though, was his 6-year-old daughter. He wanted to return home and make her school lunches again. During his stay, Wade’s daughter had a school play that he did not want to miss. This presented a great opportunity for Wade’s recovery. The therapy staff used the play as an activity which allowed Wade to practice reintegrating into the community with real-life situations he may encounter on a daily basis once he returned home.

After a few weeks at the hospital, Wade successfully discharged home, ambulating with the use of a walker. The work was not over though—Wade returned for outpatient therapy services for the next three months. He continued working on his walking. Wade also learned methods and devices to make life easier and to adjust to life’s new circumstances. Wade always gave everything he had during his therapy sessions. He said, “If you give 100% to everything, it’ll take care of itself with time.”

Time and determination is what Wade needed. He graduated from outpatient a few months later and no longer needed to use a walker to ambulate. Wade also regained the use of his hand, so he felt it was time to find a job to contribute to society and to his family. He applied for a patient care technician position at New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital because he wanted to “become a part of the team that gave him so much.”

Today, Wade has held several positions at the facility, including patient care technician, therapy technician, and currently, maintenance mechanic. He enjoys the opportunity to bring patients joy. Wade uses his situation as an opportunity to relate to patients and give them hope that life can return to normal, even if it is a new normal.

Wade said, “My life has been a blessing and I owe it all to this facility.” His drive and determination are what made him successful not only has a patient, but now as an employee. Wade is a huge asset to the facility. He has been awarded “Passionate Patient Caregiver of the Month” numerous times and was even awarded “Passionate Patient Caregiver of the Year” in 2017.

“I’m alive and I’m grateful. Every extra day I get on Earth is a blessing, and I’m most appreciative of the opportunity to work here,” Wade said.

We are blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of Wade’s recovery journey as well as the opportunity to work with him now on a daily basis!

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Mark Cook

 

A car accident nearly took Mark Cook’s life, and left him with a traumatic brain injury.

At the age of 47, Mark Cook almost lost his life in a motor vehicle accident. When Mark arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center’s (BAMC) Level 1 Trauma Center he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

Mark spent ten days in a coma. Fortunately, he wouldn’t require a craniotomy to relieve the pressure in his brain. The doctors did not think he would be able to survive the surgery. But, the pressure in his brain was increasing. It seemed that was the only option. Mark’s wife of 15 years recalls yelling at him, saying, “you are not allowed to leave me!” She could not imagine life without him. They still had so many hopes, plans and dreams to accomplish together. She begged him to stay strong and fight.

Three hours later, the pressure in Mark’s brain miraculously decreased. The doctors said he would no longer need the surgery. Mark remained at BAMC for two months while he gained medical stability.

Mark and his wife knew the road to recovery was going to be a long road. Wheelchair bound, Mark had to relearn how to walk, talk, and stand. He also needed to relearn how to perform activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, eating, dressing, and toileting. While at BAMC, Mark’s social worker connected him with the Texas Health & Human Services’ Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services program. The program assists eligible people who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) to function independently in their home and community by providing funding.

Through this program, Mark admitted to a rehabilitation hospital in Austin for four months. Post-acute brain injury rehabilitation for three months followed, to aid in his transition home. Mark continued to work hard to regain his strength. To function independently in the community, Mark knew more therapy was necessary.

That led Mark to New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. Mark began outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy at NBRRH. On his first day, Mark unsteadily walked in using a cane. Due to his injury, Mark had trouble using his right hand. Occupational therapy worked on that aspect, as well as his activities of daily living. Additionally, Mark’s speech and cognition were impaired. Speech therapy helped him with thought processing, reasoning, and memory.

A large part of Mark’s success was due to his wife’s untiring support and encouragement. She watched him progress little by little with each therapy session. She continued to be Mark’s biggest cheerleader throughout this journey. Mark’s positive outlook on life despite his injury inspired the therapists and staff at New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. “Mark was always cheerful, motivated, and eager to participate in therapy,” said Sarah, Mark’s physical therapist. “He always brought a smile to our faces every time we treated him.”

Six months later, Mark continues to have a positive attitude as he graduates from our outpatient program. A year and a half after the accident, Mark now walks independently without an assistive device. His cognition, memory, and speech have improved tremendously. Rehabilitation isn’t over yet though—Mark plans to continue a home exercise program to maintain his level of independence.

Prior to his brain injury, Mark enjoyed playing the guitar and ukulele. He plans to continue playing music in the future now that he has better usage of his right arm. Mark and his wife also plan to travel throughout the United States to see and experience new adventures together.

Mark has made so much progress throughout his time with us and we look forward to seeing where his adventures will take him next!

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What to Pack for a Hospital Stay

Whether you are a patient preparing for an inpatient hospital stay, or someone who’s loved one unexpectedly finds themselves in a hospital, having the right things for a hospital stay is important. Packing the right items will help make your stay less stressful and allow you to focus on your recovery.

Below you’ll find a summary of suggested items to pack for a hospital stay.

Clothing

  • 5-6 outfits of loose fitting pants and tops
  • Undergarments
  • Sweater or jacket
  • Supportive pair of athletic shoes with non-skid soles
  • Night clothes (gown, robe, pajamas)

Toiletries

  • Soap, if you prefer a certain brand
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash & dentures
  • Comb, brush, shaving supplies & cosmetics
  • Deodorant, lotion, perfume, & aftershave

Miscellaneous

  • Insurance cards & medical information
  • Eyeglasses & hearing aids
  • Incontinence pads (if needed)
  • Pillow, blanket
  • Family pictures
  • Laundry basket or bag

Click here to download a printable version of this checklist

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Understanding Influenza: 5 Facts to Know this Flu Season

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the 2017-2018 flu season was one of the worst. Understanding Influenza – how it’s spread, how to prevent it, and the symptoms of the flu – can help keep you, and your community healthy this winter. Below are five flu facts to know as we enter flu season.

Can a flu shot give me the flu?

The Influenza vaccine is safe and cannot give you the Flu. It takes 2 weeks to build up your immunity, so you can contract the flu before developing the antibodies.

How is the flu spread?

Influenza is a contagious respiratory virus that spreads when you are exposed to an infected person that coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by touching your nose, mouth or eyes after touching a surface with the virus on it.

How can I prevent the flu?

There are several things you can do to keep yourself flu-free! The most important step you can take is to get a flu vaccine each year. You can also help prevent getting the flu by frequently using hand sanitizer or washing your hands. Try to avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes. Avoid spreading the flu by covering your coughs/sneezes and by staying home if you are sick. Additionally, be sure to keep surfaces in your home clean.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Symptoms usually start 1-4 days after exposure and usually come on suddenly. You are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after the illness starts. However, you can infect others before you are symptomatic and up to a week after becoming sick.

Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can include fever, headache, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, sore throat, cough and chills. Seek medical care for any worsening symptoms.

What is the treatment for the flu?

Rest, pain relievers and extra fluids will help to lessen your symptoms. While antibiotics are not effective for the flu, there are prescription antiviral medications that can help to lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration. But, they must be started within 48 hours after onset.

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Resources for Caregivers

There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” – Rosalyn Carter

Caregivers often hide in plain sight. They make up a substantial portion of the United States population. In the US alone, there are over 40 million unpaid caregivers for adults over the age of 65. We tend not to realize the strain put on an individual who cares for a loved one. Instead, we see only the selflessness with which they provide care. Unfortunately, there’s often more going on than we recognize.

Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming, particularly when providing care for a spouse. It’s important to understand and utilize the resources available to you as a caregiver. Here are some great resources for caregivers:

VA Caregiver Support

If you provide care for a veteran, the Veterans Administration has a number of resources available to you. Services offered include mentoring, diagnosis-specific tips and guidance. Additionally, help is available to care for your loved one so that you have time to care for yourself. Many of these services are provided at no cost.

Diagnosis-specific Support Networks

Many organizations offer online support networks for patients and caregivers, focused on specific diagnoses. These support networks typically have segments dedicated to the unique needs of caregivers. Some of the organizations offering these support networks include:

Local Support Groups

Hospitals often host support groups on a variety of topics. Some are diagnosis-specific. Others focus directly on caregivers. It can be quite helpful to connect with individuals who have had similar experiences to yours. Contact your local hospital to find out what support groups they host and when they meet.

An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” – Unknown

As a caregiver, it’s important not to neglect yourself. The resources above offer support so that you can care for yourself, too. Additionally, you may speak with your healthcare provider for more resources. Remember, taking good care of yourself is part of providing care to another!

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How to Spot a Stroke

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. Every four minutes, someone dies.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for about one out of every 20 deaths.

As many as 80% of strokes may be preventable. But if someone is suffering a stroke, one of the most important factors is time. Knowing the signs of stroke, and what to do in that situation, could save a person’s life.

All you need to remember is F-A-S-T.

F: Face Drooping

Look at the person’s face. Does one side droop? Do they feel numbness on one side of their face?
Action item: Ask the person to smile. Is their smile lopsided or uneven?

A: Arm Weakness

Does the person feel numbness or weakness in one arm?
Action item: Ask the person to raise both arms above their head. Are they able to lift both arms? Does one arm drift downward?

S: Speech Difficulty

Is the person making sense when they speak? Are their words slurred?
Action item: Ask the person to say a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Can you understand what they say?

T: Time to Call 9-1-1

If any of these symptoms are present, call 9-1-1 immediately. Tell the operator you think someone is having a stroke. Do this even if these symptoms disappear. Time is critical, so it is important to get them to the hospital right away. Be sure to note the time when the symptoms appeared.
Action item: Call 9-1-1!

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3 Tips for Keeping Yourself Flu-Free

It’s that time of year again…flu season. With the constant risk of catching the virus, educating yourself can be the key to being flu-free.

The flu typically is spread when someone who has it coughs, sneezes, or talks. Droplets from his or her mouth spread to the mouths or noses of people nearby. Additionally, you can catch the flu from touching an object that has flu germs on it, and then touching your mouth or nose.

Once flu germs get inside the body, they go to the respiratory system. There, they attach to those cells, essentially turning them into more flu germs. That’s when your immune system begins to fight back. It does so by creating two different proteins that attack the virus – cytokines and chemokines. Cytokines multiply to help fight off the virus. Chemokines create white blood cells (called T cells) to help fight against the virus, as well.

Eventually, the fever that comes along with the flu is your body’s way of killing off the virus.

As it turns out, many symptoms you feel from the flu aren’t the virus itself. Rather, it is your immune system working to fight it off.

While it’s great that your body has the ability to fight the flu, the best defense is always prevention. To keep yourself flu-free, try these 3 tips:

  1. Get a flu shot. This vaccine is the number one way to keep the flu out of your body.
  2. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: wash, wash, wash your hands. When you wash your hands, you wash flu (and other) germs away, limiting your risk of catching them.
  3. Last, keep the surfaces clean in your house to help remove any flu germs.
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Physical Therapy vs. Opioids

Who among us hasn’t suffered the nuisance of a minor pain now and then? Usually, we can find quick relief with over-the-counter medications. But for those with chronic pain, stronger painkillers like opioids may be prescribed.

Americans have increasingly been prescribed opioids – painkillers like Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana, and methadone, and combination drugs like Percocet. The use of these prescription drugs has quadrupled since 1999, although there hasn’t been an increase in the amount of pain Americans report.

In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million opioid prescriptions. That’s enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills.

In response to this growing opioid epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released opioid prescription guidelines recognizing that opioids are appropriate in certain cases such as cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and in certain acute care situations – if properly dosed. But for other pain management, the CDC recommends non-opioid alternatives such as physical therapy to cope with chronic pain.

Physical therapy is a safe and effective way to treat long-term pain. Physical therapists can provide evidence-based treatments that help not only treat the pain, but the underlying cause of the pain. They can provide exercises that focus on strength, flexibility, posture and body mechanics. Strengthening and stretching parts of the body that are affected by pain can decrease the pain, increase mobility, and improve overall mood.

So before agreeing to an opioid prescription for chronic pain, consult with your physician to discuss your options for a non-opioid treatment.

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Wash the Germs Away

We’ve heard it all before – wash your hands often, especially during flu season. But does hand-washing really keep you from getting sick?

The short answer is, yes!

Washing your hands with soap can kill bacteria and viruses that are spread through individuals or objects such as door knobs. When you don’t wash your hands, little actions, such as touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, can put you at risk almost immediately for an illness, providing the germs access to enter your body.

What is interesting to note, however, is that washing your hands with warm water doesn’t kill any more germs than washing with cold water.

In fact, recent studies have shown that the temperature of hand-washing water doesn’t affect the amount of germs being washed away. The only time that a certain water temperature would kill more germs is if the water was boiling (212 ℉), in which case, it would burn and damage your hands.

So what’s the most effective way to wash your hands?

  1. Wet your hands with water.
  2. Pump soap to a cupped hand.
  3. Lather and rub your hands vigorously for about 20 seconds. Be sure to get in between fingers.
  4. Rinse all soap off of hands.
  5. Dry your hands well with a towel. Germs can be more easily transferred to and from wet hands.
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Fall-Proof Your Home

With falls being the leading cause of injuries in older adults, it’s important to understand how to prevent the common causes.

To help prevent falls at home, consider the following home modification tips:

  • Keep rooms free from clutter
  • Install handrails, raised toilet seats, grab bars and shower mats
  • Light up dark areas of the home
  • Remove or tape down any loose carpets or electrical wires
  • Ensure telephones can be easily reached from the floor
  • Replace chairs that are too low to the ground or difficult to get out of
  • Install night lights throughout the home, especially in bathrooms and stairwells

In addition to home modifications, a change in wardrobe also can help in preventing falls. Wear sensible, non-slip footwear and avoid wearing loose clothing. Make sure to also talk with your family and care providers about your falling risks.

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Sleep Strategies for Those with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that triggers the body’s immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord.

Living with MS can be difficult, especially when some symptoms get in the way of getting a good night’s sleep. Researchers have found that the symptoms of MS, such as stress and muscular stiffness or spasms, can cause lost sleep.

Here are 5 tips to get a better night of rest:

  1. Create a Bedtime Ritual
    Brush your teeth, put on pajamas, read a book or listen to calm music. Creating a bedtime ritual signals the body and mind to slow down.
  2. Hit The Hay At The Same Time Every Night
    Creating a routine helps to set the body’s internal clock.
  3. Exercise In The Morning
    Exercise is a stimulant. If you exercise close to your bedtime, it’ll be harder to fall asleep.
  4. Drink Less Fluids Around Bedtime
    Limit fluids before bedtime to lessen the need to “go.” Also, don’t drink caffeine or alcohol.
  5. Keep Your Bedroom Cool, Quiet and Dark
    Set the tone every night for a comfortable sleep environment.
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How Immunizations Help

Contrary to popular belief, immunization is more than getting a shot from the doctor’s office. So, how does the process of immunization affect your immune system?

In your body, there are white blood cells. These cells have the job of protecting your body from viral infections. When necessary, these white blood cells become a giant army to ward off any unwanted viruses or diseases.

Once a virus has been defeated, some types of white blood cells “remember” the virus, and how to defeat it when it enters the body again.

To create vaccines to a certain disease, scientists use dead or weak strains of the disease. The vaccination gives a body’s white blood cells a “taste” of that specific virus, so they know how to fight it off if that virus ever enters the body.

The vaccine itself does not cause the virus, but it can strongly affect your immune system, because it helps the body fight off certain diseases.

Additionally, by getting vaccinations and living in a community where others get vaccinations, it causes “herd immunity.” This means that members of the community who are too young or too weak to receive that vaccine also receive protection from the disease because it’s unlikely to spread through a group of people who have immunity to the infection.

So immunization isn’t just important for you, but also for the people around you!

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Sleep After a Stroke

Recently, researchers have found that insomnia may be a long-term effect of a stroke. But what does that mean for those who have had a stroke in the past?

Well, simply put, it means that the road to recovery may take a bit longer than expected.

After a stroke, there are many physical, emotional, and cognitive changes in a person. It all depends on what part of the brain was damaged, but frequent physical changes may include dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) or hemiparesis (muscle weakness on one side of the body).

If a stroke survivor develops insomnia, the rebuilding and healing of muscles can’t occur, which can lead to a slower recovery. Additionally, without this needed sleep, individuals may notice more emotional changes (such as crankiness) and cognitive struggles (such as difficulty concentrating).

If you’ve had a stroke and now experience insomnia, there may be options out there for you to get better sleep. These options include meditation and breathing exercises, trying to follow a stricter bed-time schedule (going to bed and waking up at the same time each day), and making sure to keep your bedroom dark and comfortable. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician.

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Help a Loved One Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

After a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, an individual may feel frightened about what the future holds. Knowing that he or she has a friend or family member to lean on may help make things a bit more comfortable in their changing world. Here are 5 easy ways to help:

  1. Talk About Changes Your Friend or Family Member is Experiencing
    For someone with Parkinson’s disease, it can be scary to realize that tasks that were once easy are now difficult. Just being there for your loved one and talking things through can help provide more comfort with the new symptoms or thoughts he or she may be experiencing.
  2. Offer to Attend Doctor Visits
    If your loved one is okay with you coming along to his or her doctor visits, you can help by remembering specific instructions from the doctor. You also can help your loved one remember any important information he or she wants to share.
  3. Educate Yourself on Parkinson’s disease
    Educating yourself about Parkinson’s disease can show your loved one that you care about what he or she is going through. In addition, it can help you learn how to adjust to your friend or family member’s physical and emotional changes.
  4. Help Make Safety Changes to Your Loved One’s Home
    For someone with Parkinson’s disease, physical changes to his or her body may include loss of    balance and dizziness more frequently. You can help make safety adjustments to his or her home, such as safety rails and chairs in the shower or tub, removing tripping hazards, and tacking rugs to the floor.
  5. Encourage Your Loved One to Start Exercise or Physical Therapy Early
    An important way to help your loved one adjust to Parkinson’s disease is by encouraging him or her to exercise. Certain activities, such as yoga, stretching, and walking, can improve movement and balance. Activities that require memorization of movement can even help improve cognitive development.
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Healthy Eating After a Stroke

A healthy diet is key to recovery after a stroke. But according to the National Stroke Association, 8-34 percent of stroke survivors suffer from malnutrition.

Not eating healthy to begin with has its negative effects. Not eating healthy after a stroke, however, slows down the recovery process and increases the chances of having another stroke.

So, how do stroke survivors eat healthy while trying to manage everything else in their lives? Simply put…eat the rainbow.

Look for foods that are divers in color. You want to try and have a “rainbow” on your plate during every meal: such as fruit, vegetables, grains, meat/poultry/fish, and dairy.

Beyond the rainbow, here are some additional healthy-eating tips:

  1. Never skip breakfast – Breakfast gives you the energy you need to start your day. Plus, you’ll feel fuller throughout the day which means you’ll snack a lot less.
  2. Say “Bye, bye, bye” to your salt shaker – Don’t add unnecessary salt to your foods. Replace salt with herbs and spices like basil or oregano.
  3. High-five high-fiber – Eating high-fiber foods such as beans, peas, nuts, salmon, and grains helps to reduce your cholesterol.
  4. Trick your brain – Have you ever seen an optical illusion that confused you of what you were seeing? Well, that’s essentially what you can do. Start using smaller bowls and plates for your meals to help control portion sizes. Your brain will see that the plate is full, helping to convince it that you are full once you’ve finished eating.
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Tips and Tricks to Help Your Memory

We’ve all had times when our memory has escaped us, and we know how frustrating that can be. Here are some easy tips and tricks to help improve your memory:

  • Tag, You’re It! – Attach new information with what you already know. It’s easier to remember something if you can tag it to something already stored in your memory. For example, you meet a man named Jesse. Attach the Jesse you met with the iconic “Jesse James” since Jesse James is already stored in your memory.
  • Picture Perfect – Picture in your mind what it is you want to remember AND BE DRAMATIC ABOUT IT! For example, your spouse asks you to pick up a loaf of bread after work. Visualize yourself at the grocery store with a gigantic loaf of bread 100 feet long.
  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – Go over again and again what it is you want to remember. And repeat it throughout the day.
  • Write it Down– Write things down. Start small by making a grocery list. Summarize important meetings. Keep a journal. Make it a habit.
  • Spend Time with Loved Ones – Being around those you love improves brain function, which can boost your memory, and your mood. It’s a win-win!
  • Make Life a Sing-a-Long – Just like High School Musical, start busting out into song randomly throughout the day. Studies show that singing your favorite songs can actually help improve your memory. Think of it like a “running-start” your brain needs to get going.
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Gender Puts Women More at Risk for Stroke

Priyanka Noorani, who goes by Pia, was pregnant with her first child just months ago. As her beautiful baby girl entered the world, Pia and her husband couldn’t have been happier. Just 15 days after the birth of her daughter however, Pia began to experience relentless dizziness. After two days of constant dizziness, Pia’s vision started to fail.

Her husband rushed her to the hospital. Once admitted, doctors came back unveiling that Noorani had a stroke.

In the battle of the sexes, here’s one that women like Noorani – often unknowingly – take the lead in: About 55,000 more women than men have strokes every year. Strokes kill more women than men annually, making it the #3 leading cause of death in women. In Texas, 48,103 women have suffered from strokes in the past eight years according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 2017 Annual Report.

“Having a stroke never crossed my mind,” Noorani says. “I’m only 25. I thought that my husband would have a serious health condition before I did.”

This gender misconception about strokes is common, according to Dr. Maria Lomba, Medical Director for New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. “Most people don’t realize that women suffer strokes more frequently than men,” she says. “If you’re a woman, you share a lot of the same risk factors for strokes as men, but a woman’s risk is also influenced by hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy, childbirth and other gender-related factors.”

For example, birth control pills may double the risk of stroke, especially in women with high blood pressure or who smoke. And, according to the American Heart Association, hormone replacement therapy – once thought to reduce stroke risk – in fact, actually increases it.

A recent study, shared through the National Stroke Association, found that the following factors are linked to increase stroke risk in women:

  • Menstruation before the age of 10
  • Menopause before the age of 45
  • Low levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS)
  • Taking oral estrogen or combined oral contraceptives

The study also showed that a history of pregnancy complications can also indicate higher stroke risk. These problems include gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during or immediately after pregnancy.

“Add this to other general risk factors for stroke like family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, lack of exercise, and being overweight – and it becomes clearer as to why women can be more at risk for stroke than men,” Lomba says.

For the sake of her new baby girl, Noorani didn’t take any chances with her health. She went straight to the hospital when she became aware of her stroke-like symptoms. Being aware of her symptoms helped her get the care she needed quickly, which ultimately aided in her recovery. After fifty days of initial medical treatment, and another month of inpatient rehabilitation, Noorani was transferred to New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital for outpatient rehabilitation, which included speech, physical, and occupational therapy.

Noorani is still recovering, but she has shown great progress over the months. “You just have to keep fighting,” she says. “You have to hold onto whatever it is you love and fight for it. For me, I am fighting for my daughter.”

Due to the extent of Noorani’s condition, she couldn’t walk, talk, or take care of her baby when she was first admitted. But, after months of continual therapy and the support of her family, she now is able to do all of those things. “Getting to hold my daughter again is my biggest accomplishment,” Noorani says.

“Whatever stage of life a woman is in, it’s important that she be aware of all the risk factors of stroke,” Lomba says. “As it’s often said, ‘knowledge is power.’ And in this case, the more knowledgeable a woman is about her stroke risk factors, the more she’ll be able to understand how she can be affected and work with her physician or healthcare provider as appropriate to reduce them.”

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Take Steps to Stop Stroke

According to the National Stroke Association, physically active individuals have a 25-30 percent chance of lower risk of stroke than less active individuals. An easy way to incorporate exercise into your day is to walk. You can do it anywhere, it’s free, and it’s low impact so it can help build strong bones and muscles with a low risk of getting hurt.

Here are some tips to take a step in the right direction and get moving:

  • Before starting any exercise program, check with your physician.
  • Start small. Warm up at a slower pace for the first five minutes of your walk; then walk at a brisk pace to get your heart rate up. You should be breathing heavier, but still able to talk. Go back to a slower pace for the last five minutes of your walk.
  • Determine your own length of time that’s comfortable for you to walk at the beginning. Add a couple minutes to your walk every week.

Try to walk at least 5 days a week. Ultimately, you should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes per walk. But, if you can walk longer, go for it. This is one case where more can be better!

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Top 10 Reasons Being in Top 10% Matters to Our Patients

We recently were named in the Top 10% of inpatient rehabilitation facilities from among 870 facilities in the nation.
Here are our Top 10 reasons why we think this is good for our patients: 

10. Consistency.
This is our 6th year in a row of receiving this honor. Year after year, our care has been recognized as patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely.

9. The Proof is in the Pudding.
Our patients and their families can get a sense of reassurance knowing they are in good hands. We are passionate about patient care, and we strive every day to provide the highest level of care possible. It’s reassuring to know that our staff’s hard work and passion is paying off, especially when it’s recognized by an unbiased, third-party.

8. We’re Working with Our Peers to Make Things Better.
Not only for our patients, but for others around the nation. Through the UDSMR, our hospital collaborates with peers throughout the nation to share information and establish best practices for patients, helping to elevate rehabilitative care for everyone.

7. It Makes our Patients Feel Good.
When patients see that we’ve been ranked in the Top 10% in the nation, we hope it makes them feel good about being treated in our hospital.

6. More “Likes” on Facebook.
We know we’re not Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift, but we do love our fans; and we want them to love us. We like sharing good news and like it when others share it too. It always makes us feel good when we hear success stories, especially when those stories are of people being treated here in our community.

5. We get to have a party!
We’re going to celebrate this accomplishment with our patients and friends. We’re looking forward to camaraderie, music, and yummy food – and will probably eat way too much dessert. If we’re lucky, we might even get to see our CEO bust a move on the dance floor.

4. More Publicity, More Community Awareness.
We have a great work family here at the hospital, as our patients can attest. Our patients see our staff’s passion for rehabilitative care every day. As our reputation for excellent patient care continues to grow, the potential for more of our community to learn about our services grows, as well.

3. It Raises the Bar.
We’re like the Michael Phelps of rehabilitative care – top of our game. But there’s always room for improvement. Plus, we like a little challenge, especially if it means greater health care results for our patients.

2. It Brings our Community a Sense of Pride.
In the iconic lyrics of Lee Greenwood, “I’m proud to be an American.” And on behalf of our entire staff, we are proud to be part of some of the top performing rehabilitation facilities in the nation. Those in our community are able to receive some of the highest level of patient care right here in their backyard.

AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON…
1. It Matters!
We’re serious about our commitment to our patients to provide them with the highest level of rehabilitative care available. It matters. To us. To our patients. To our community.

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Recognized Among Top 10% in the Nation

New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital has been named in the Top 10 percent of inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States for the 6th year in a row. The hospital’s care was cited as being as being patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely.

“We strive to deliver this higher level of care as our standard,” says Mario Rodriguez, CEO of New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. “We have graciously been recognized as a top performing facility for many years now, but we never take it for granted. Our staff is exceptionally passionate about helping patients reach their full potential through the care we provide. We work daily to ensure patients are reaching their highest levels of ability and independence.”

New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital was ranked in the Top 10 percent from among 870 inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationwide by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR), a non-profit corporation that was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The UDSMR maintains the world’s largest database of rehabilitation outcomes.

“If you take into account that a national study has previously shown that inpatient rehabilitation facilities provide better long-term results for patients, being ranked at the top of that group validates the quality of care we provide,” says Dr. Maria Lomba, Medical Director of New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, referencing a study commissioned by the ARA Research Institute that showed patients treated in inpatient facilities experienced improved quality of life as compared to skilled nursing facilities.

“To provide the highest level of rehabilitative care available in the United States to our own community is truly rewarding,” Rodriguez says. “This means our family, friends, and colleagues don’t need to leave the area to receive the best care available.”

Through the UDSMR, New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital also will collaborate with peers throughout the nation to share information and establish best practices for patients. “This helps elevate rehabilitative care for everyone across the United States,” Rodriguez says.

New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital provides specialized rehabilitative services to patients who are recovering from or living with disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses, or chronic medical conditions. This includes, but is not limited to, strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, cerebral palsy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

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