Grant Regional | aspire to live well | Winter 2020

Feel like hibernating? It could be seasonal depression Sometimes the signs and symptoms of a stroke go away almost as swiftly as they arrive. But that doesn’t mean the danger has passed. Brief stroke symptoms can be caused by a TIA—short for transient ischemic attack . Like a regular stroke, a TIA happens when the brain’s blood supply is blocked by a clot. A TIA usually lasts only for a few minutes—the blockage dissolves on its own. As a result, a TIA doesn’t cause perma- nent brain damage or disability. However, a TIA is a warning. It means you’re at risk for a full-blown stroke. The good news? After a TIA, treatment can help prevent future strokes. So if you think you may have had a TIA in the past, tell your doctor. And remember this, should you ever experience the signs and symptoms of a stroke: Don’t wait for them to pass. Call 911 right away. There’s no way to know whether you’re having a TIA or a stroke—and the latter could kill or paralyze you if you don’t get immediate help. The signs and symptoms of both stroke and TIA come on suddenly and include: ●   ● Trouble talking or understanding others. ●   ● A severe, unexplained headache. ●   ● Trouble seeing in one or both eyes. ●   ● Numbness or weakness on one side of the body. ●   ● Dizziness. Sources: American Stroke Association; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke TIA: Take this warning seriously A TIA is a warning. It means you’re at risk for a full- blown stroke. ! Do you feel your mood and energy levels wane as winter’s shorter days of sunlight arrive? If so, you could have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD, sometimes called the winter blues, is actually a form of depression. It typically starts in the fall, deepens in winter and goes away in spring and summer. SAD seems to be driven by the seasonal dimming of sunlight in winter. Low light may interfere with hormones involved in mood and sleep, which, in some people, may contribute to feeling de- pressed, sleepy and sluggish. Here in the Northern Hemi- sphere, your chances of having SAD increase the farther north you live from the equator. SAD is also four times more common in women than in men. How it feels Many of the symptoms of SAD are like those of major depression except that they come and go with the seasons. They include: ●   ● Feeling sad or in a low mood most of the time. ●   ● Wanting to sleep a lot. ●   ● Having low energy, even if you sleep too much. ●   ● Losing interest in your usual activities. ●   ● Gaining weight from overeating, especially carbohydrates (think bread, pasta and pastries). ●   ● Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty. ●   ● Having trouble concentrating. ●   ● Having thoughts of death or suicide. If you have symptoms like these, take them seriously: Tell your doctor. Treatment can involve spending time near a special light box (light therapy), taking medications, undergoing counseling or doing all of these things. Sources: American Psychiatric Association; National Institute of Mental Health 6 WINTER 2020