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News and information for primary and secondary prevention providers

June 2008 – Issue 5

Heart and Stroke Foundation of
                                     Welcome to the Fifth Issue of the Primary and Secondary
Saskatchewan                         Prevention E-newsletter!
279 3rd Avenue North,
Saskatoon, SK
                                     This quarterly e-newsletter will feature the latest developments on
S7K 2H8,
1-888-473-4636                       healthy living, stroke and cardiac conditions.
or (306) 244-2124

                                     Did someone forward this e-newsletter to you?
Health Promotion Staff
                                     If you would like to subscribe to this quarterly, free e-newsletter
Gwen Gordon
                                     please contact Cora at or 1-888-473-4636 (ext
Health Promotion Director                    240).

Stephanie Cool
Manager, Primary Prevention

Cora Janzen
Manager, Secondary Prevention        He@lthline and He@lthline For Parents is created by the Heart and                    Stroke Foundation of Canada and is sent out monthly. It contains
Selene Daniel-Whyte
                                     the latest healthy lifestyle information. To subscribe to either of
Manager, Stroke Strategy             these free e-newsletters, visit

TJ Biemans
Manager, Resuscitation

Sandy Welsh
Health Promotion Clerk and
Admin. Assistant

Please visit our provincial
website to view our complete
Print Resource Catalogue or
contact us to discuss your needs.

June 2008                                                                                 Page 2

                 Welcome!                                Farewell and Well Wishes
                                               We say a regretful farewell to our Resuscitation
                                               Manager, Tyson Holeha. Tyson leaves us for
                                               the wide open air of a non-office, outside job!

                                               We thank Tyson for his efforts and work in the
                                               Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Resuscitation
                                               programs and wish him all the best in his future
                                               endeavours and career path.

 TJ Biemans joined the Heart and Stroke
 Foundation as Resuscitation Manager on
 April 28, 2008. He holds a Bachelor
 Degree in Kinesiology from the University
 of Regina and a Diploma in Recreation and
 Leisure Management from SIAST. TJ has
 experience in management and program
 development within the non-profit sector.
 He looks forward to the challenge of his
 new position!

            June is Stroke Month
 Do you know the 5 warning signs of
 stroke? This year for Stroke Month, the
 Heart and Stroke Foundation of
 Saskatchewan is focusing on raising
 awareness of the 5 warning signs of
 stroke. As part of this work, we have
 prepared a Toolkit of resources for
 healthcare providers which include a
 downloadable warning signs poster,
 powerpoint presentation, newsletter
 articles and more. We encourage you to
 think about how you can utilize some or
 all of these in your work. For more
 information, please check out our Stroke
 Strategy website at

                                       A Big Thank-You
 On behalf of the HSFS, we would like to thank the Moose Jaw Cardiac Centre (Global
 Cardiovascular Risk Management) for the donation to our World Hypertension Day events here
 in Saskatchewan!
June 2008                                                                                           Page 3

                                     Blood Pressure Resources
Three key organizations in hypertension in Canada have joined their websites into one location, These organizations include the Canadian Hypertension Society (CHS),
Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) and Blood Pressure Canada (BPC). Each
individual site within the umbrella site takes a slightly different approach to reducing the incidence
of hypertension in Canadians. The CHS website focuses widely on hypertension research, the
CHEP website has a number of useful tools and information for healthcare providers and the BPC
website is geared for more general public information. View it today and use in your classes and

Home blood pressure monitoring is a theme for this year’s Hypertension recommendations.
When purchasing a blood pressure monitor, look for this label:    . For a list of approved
monitors, please visit and go to Devices/Endorsements.

One size does not fit all – it is important to buy a monitor with the right cuff size. If in doubt, talk
to the pharmacist. Also, it is recommended to have a doctor, nurse or pharmacist check your
monitor after purchasing it and each year to ensure it is calibrated and measuring the blood
pressure correctly.

                 Has Your New Years Resolution Fallen to the Waist Side?

Was your New Years resolution “to get more physically active” and you have not had time to
follow through? Well there is no need to fret; it’s the perfect time of year to get physically active.
Here are some great tips to help get you and keep you moving!

1. Try and accumulate 30-60minutes of moderate activity a day! Remember minutes count- add it
   up, 10 minutes at a time. What is moderate? Well, it can be brisk walking, dancing, raking
   leaves, swimming and going up and down stairs.
2. Remember to include a warm up and cool down. Warm up and cool downs allow your heart to
   gradually speed up and slow down, which will decrease the amount of stress on the heart. As
   well, it prevents muscle soreness and injuries.
3. Find a friend/family member to participate with you. This will make the activity more enjoyable
   and help pass the time.
4. Try and find activities you can do outside. Enjoy the
   fresh air while you take in some of your daily
   vitamin D! Remember to stay hydrated, drink lots
   of water and try to stay away from sugary drinks.
5. Lastly, keep at it! Your fitness level does not change
   overnight, it could take a few months to get where
   you want to be!

Every minute you are physically active you will feel better,
you will have more energy, your sleeping patterns will
improve and most of all you are reducing your risk of
developing chronic diseases like heart disease and stroke.
June 2008                                                                                        Page 4

                                             Patti’s Story- Stroke Survivor
                                   It was a warm, late summer day on the long weekend of
                                   September 2006. Patti was tired because she had just returned
                                   from a business trip out east. Running was a big part of Patti’s life
                                   and a great stress reliever for her. So she geared up and went for
                                   a run, followed by a walk with her neighbour.
                                    While they were returning Patti started to feel dizzy, she began to
                                    act giddy and slur her words. When she got back to the cabin she
 felt headachy as well. Putting it all down to being overtired, she went to bed for a nap. The rest of
 the day she felt unwell and lethargic. The following morning when she tried to go for a walk the
 dizziness returned, she had difficulty speaking and her leg was trembling uncontrollably. Patti’s
 husband, Darryl, put her in the car and rushed her into the hospital in Prince Albert where she was
 transferred to the University Hospital in Saskatoon.
 Neuropsychological testing revealed damage to the frontal lobe of Patti’s brain. She was left with a
 number of cognitive deficits. What was most difficult was how fearful the world was for her
 immediately following her stroke. She felt lost and frightened, unable to understand what had
 happened. Patti’s stroke left her with some vision loss, difficulty processing what she hears, balance
 problems, aphasia, memory loss and other cognitive difficulties.
 In the first months following her stroke she was afraid to go out in public, fearful of social
 situations. Ordinary activities that we take for granted, like shopping or going out for lunch, were
 beyond her. Lights, music and conversations all felt confusing and overwhelming. Add to that her
 constant worry and anxiety about work, which had been such an important part of her life and
 which had overnight become beyond her capabilities.
 In those first tentative months following her stroke Patti found comfort in crayoning pictures in
 coloring books. This quiet pursuit brought her focus and calmed her clattering thoughts. She
 gradually moved on from this basic activity to trying her hand at watercolour painting. Prior to her
 stroke, Patti had worked in the business sector and her own personal creativity had not been a
 priority. Over the past year and a half Patti’s charming watercolours have become increasingly
 popular. To date she has sold well over a hundred paintings. She paints delightful landscapes of
 the fields and forests and lakes of the Prince Albert National Park and her home near Prince Albert.
 She has also painted sets of Christmas cards which are equally popular. An exciting new
 development for Patti is that she has recently started teaching monthly watercolour classes to a
 group of people with acquired brain injuries.
 When Patti came across the book “Stroke: An Owner’s Manual by Arthur Josephs she was
 impressed by the fact that it was written by a stroke survivor. His struggles were very much her
 own. His advice was helpful to her and his insights gave her great comfort. That is when Patti
 made the decision to use her newfound talent for painting to help other stroke survivors. She is
 putting a portion of the sale of her artwork toward building a comprehensive library of stroke-
 related books and videos to be made available to others who have been affected by stroke, as
 well as donating proceeds from the sale of her artwork to the Saskatchewan Heart and Stroke
  has enjoyed time at the lake more than she ever had the chance to before her stroke. She writes
 in her journal every day and it helps her see where she’s been and how far she has come.
 Continued on page 5
 June 2008                                                                                                        Page 5

-Continued from page 4

Over the past year and a half Patti has made great strides, with the
support of family and friends and professional help from counsellors, her
speech pathologist, and caring doctors. Her own determination, sense of
humour and courage play a large part in Patti’s story. Her struggle with
severe high blood pressure is now under control with the right medication.
Though she still finds it difficult to be around large groups of people, she
has begun to socialize again. Patti has become an active member of the
Prince Albert Aphasia Group. She has made many new friends there. She
was required to go for driving reassessment at City Hospital in Saskatoon and was able to keep her
drivers license. She has time for long walks and she notices so much more now, the tracks of deer
in the snow, birds at her birdfeeder in the early morning sun. She has enjoyed time at the lake
more than she ever had the chance to before her stroke. She writes in her journal every day and it
helps her see where she’s been and how far she has come.
Patti has her good days and bad. There are times she feels frustrated and exhausted, when the
words won’t come and her memory fails her, when she feels lost and confused, when she still
grieves her old life. She no longer rushes off to catch planes or attend business meetings but she is
finding her way in the world again. She finds great peace and pleasure in her painting and in
knowing she is helping others in their own journey with recovery from stroke.

                                         - Patti’s message to others-
Do I wish this had never happened to me? Of course, I do. However, I know that it has also brought me
many gifts. Having had a stroke has taught me how to slow down and enjoy the small things in life. I have
met some amazing, courageous people that I may otherwise have never known. I have discovered there
are some really caring people in the health profession who will do everything in their power to help you
get better, from doctors to speech therapists. I paint now, something that brings me joy and a renewed
sense of self. Most of all, stroke has taught me how much my family and friends love me and would do
anything in the world for me. That alone is the biggest gift of all.
To families - it is a long, hard road after a stroke, but it can bring everyone closer.
To survivors - handling things with a sense of humour helps and there can be a good quality of life after
stroke. Yes, it took me a while to figure that out!
To everyone else - I thought this would never happen to me; please know the signs of a stroke. It can
save your life or that of someone you love.

                                                 NEW Resources
                    “Signals, Signs, Actions Wallet Cards” (This wallet card identifies
                    the signs and signals of Heart Attack and Stroke so that you can
                    identify these medical emergencies and respond immediately.)
                     “HeartSmart Women” (This booklet will help you to understand
                    heart disease, identify its symptoms, manage your risk factors
                    and make informed decisions about treatment options.
                                       To get copies, go to our order form
 June 2008                                                                                     Page 6

                                 One Sided Weakness
                   How to Perform Your Everyday Activities After Stroke
                                  Erin Moore, Occupational Therapist

Many people who have suffered a stroke have resulting weakness on one side of the body. This is
caused by damage to the motor centres in the brain. This weakness can make the simple things
you need to do every day difficult.

Occupational therapists can help you learn new ways to perform these activities, or suggest
assistive devices you can use to help. The focus of occupational therapy is on function in self care,
productivity, and leisure tasks, and how these occupations are performed when people have
physical, cognitive, or environmental barriers. Here are some tips on how to perform some
common activities when you have one sided weakness.
   • Adaptations can be made to your clothing to make it easier to get dressed.
            o Sew Velcro inside of shirt button closures to eliminate the need to do up the buttons,
                but still have the buttons visible on the shirt. Snaps are often easier to do up than
                buttons as well. Velcro can also be used in place of a button or zipper fly on pants.
            o Leave as many buttons done up as you can while still leaving enough room for you
                to slip the shirt over your head. You can use a button hook to do up the remaining
            o Attach a loop to your zippers to make them easier to pull up (it is often easier to slip
                your finger in a loop than to grasp a small zipper pull).
            o Put elastic laces in your shoes to eliminate the need to tie them every time.
   • Different types of clothing can also make dressing easier
            o Slip on or Velcro closure shoes can be easier to don. You can also try a long handled
                shoe horn or reacher.
            o Pullover shirts with no buttons.
            o Pants with an elastic waistband.
   • Dressing Upper Body – place your weaker arm in its sleeve first, then your strong arm. Pull
        shirt over head using your strong arm, or by joining hands together.
   • Dressing Lower Body – cross weaker leg over stronger leg, then place pant leg over foot and
        ankle. Put your weak foot back on the floor, and pull up pants so the waist band reaches
        the knee level. Dress stronger leg, and pull up pants as high as you can. Stand to pull up the
        rest of the way if your balance is good, or try leaning side to side or laying down.
   • Assistive devices to make eating easier can be purchased or even created at home.
            o Place a non-slip surface or suction cup on the bottom of a plate, mixing bowl, or
                cutting board will prevent it from sliding. This will stabilize them as you are working,
                as you may be unable to do so with your weaker hand.
            o A high edge on one or all sides of a plate allows you to scoop your food towards the
                edge, making eating with one hand much easier.
            o A pointed surface protruding from your cutting board allows you to pierce the food
                you are cutting to hold it in place.
            o A frame placed around a pot on the stove can stabilize it as you stir.
Continued on page 7
 June 2008                                                                                               Page 7

Continued from page 6                                                           Website Reminder
                                                                 Our website has been given a new look and
                                                                 we are still working out some of the
   • If you have difficulty lifting your weaker
                                                                 remaining kinks. Our provincial site is still
      leg over the edge of the bathtub, you may
                                                        and the national
      find it helpful to use a tub bench that
                                                                 website is
      comes over the edge of the tub. This
      allows you to sit down outside the tub,                    Some of the Saskatchewan Homepage icons
      then slide over and lift your legs over the                (such as our Resource Catalogue, the
      edge of the tub.                                           Saskatchewan Integrated Stroke Strategy
   • Aids such as a handheld shower and a                        mini-site, etc.) that you may have become
      long handled sponge can make bathing                       used to are still available however they may
      easier.                                                    not always be on the home page.
Getting In and Out of Bed
                                                                 To find a listing of all the Saskatchewan
   • When sitting up, try rolling onto your side,                health programs/information you can:
      then using your stronger arm to push your
      body up to sitting.                                        1) use this direct link:
   • When lifting your legs into bed, try                 
      hooking the foot of your stronger leg                         KMILNlEmG/b.3658219/k.71BC/HSFSK_H
      under your weaker leg to help lift. You can                   ealth_Programs.htm; or
      also lift the leg with your arm using a strap              2) go to (please
      around the ankle.                                             make sure you are at the Saskatchewan
                                                                    homepage)put cursor over “Health
In Saskatchewan, many of the devices listed in                      Information” click on “Health Programs”
this article can be purchased at drug stores or
senior’s resource stores. If you have questions for
an occupational therapist and you are unsure of                      Keep Your Cool During Summertime
who to contact in your area, please contact the                                  Activity
Saskatchewan Society of Occupational Therapists
by calling (306)956-7768, or by emailing                         •    wear appropriate clothing, and clothing                                                      that ‘breathes’
                                                                 •    remember your sunscreen, hats and
Further information on occupational therapy                           sunglasses
service and stroke are available at:                             •    drink enough fluids and avoid sugary
National OT Resource Site -;                          beverages
StrokeEngine -                                                   •    replenish your energy stores with healthy                            snacks
 Erin Moore, Occupational Therapist Royal University Hospital,
                                                                 •    For healthy snack ideas, visit our Recipes
                Saskatoon, SK, (306)655-2438,                         section under the “Health Information”
                         menu on our website

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