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Stroke Facts

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

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Stroke Statistics

The World Stroke Organization states that 1 in 4 people over age 25 will suffer from stroke in their lifetime. This year 13.7 million people worldwide will have their first stroke this year, and a half a million people will die.

Over 795,000 people in the United States will have a stroke this year, and 610,000 of these people will have their first stroke. Approximately 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, which means the blood flow is blocked in some area of the brain.

Stroke Risk Factors

The American Stroke Association lists the stroke symptoms using F.A.S.T., which means:

  1. Face drooping
  2. Arm weakness
  3. Speech difficulty
  4. Time to call 911

Other Symptoms you should know include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg, particularly when it is on just one side of the body
  • Suddenly confused, having trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden problem seeing in one or in both eyes
  • Sudden problem walking, loss of balance, dizziness or loss of coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known causes

Acute Stroke Treatment

Complications of Strokes

Some people have pain, numbness and strange sensations in parts of their body affected by the stroke. For instance, if you have lost feeling in your left arm you may have an uncomfortable tingling sensation in that arm.

You also may be very sensitive to temperature changes, especially cold. This phenomenon is called central stroke pain or central pain syndrome. Since this pain is caused by problems in the brain, there are very few medications that treat the discomfort.Paralysis or loss of muscle movement is typically limited to one side of the body. Physical therapy is the most important way to improve your chances of recovery

Difficulty talking or swallowing can occur depending on which part of the brain is affected. Talking may be difficult, plus swallowing and eating may be a problem. Sometimes the stroke causes aphasia, which means the person has difficulty expressing thoughts through language. This is very frustrating to any patient. Speech and language pathologists can greatly improve this disability

Memory loss or trouble understanding can be a problem, but it may also improve with therapy

Every person's recovery from a stroke is different. Depending on what complications you might have, there will be a team of people to help you in your recovery.

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Rehabilitation Caretakers

There are many types of caretaker that can help you with recovery from a stroke, including:

  • Nurse
  • Dietician
  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Recreational therapist
  • Speech therapist
  • Social worker
  • Psychologist or psychiatrist
  • Chaplain

The goal for rehabilitation is to recover as much of your independence and function as possible. Much of stroke rehabilitation involves relearning basic skills you may have lost, such as walking or communicating

Recovering from a stroke can be mentally exhausting. In addition to the various physical side effects, feelings of helplessness, frustration, depression and apathy aren't unusual. Diminished sex drive and mood changes also are common.

Patients that go home to a healthy spouse or other companion are more likely to become independent. Patients require a great deal of emotional support, as their lives are usually forever changed. Stroke victims have to learn to live within the limits of their abilities, and this is very difficult for some people to accept. It really depends on the individual and the degree of complications. Often they are very emotional, as suddenly they can’t work anymore, or maybe they can’t walk at all. Living with disabilities isn’t easy when it changes your whole lifestyle.

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Stroke Prevention

Controlling high blood pressure is essential. Take your prescribed medicine. It is a good idea to have a blood pressure machine, and write down your blood pressure each day.

  • Some of the other things you can do include:
  • Lower your cholesterol and saturated fat intake. This will help reduce the fat deposits in your arteries. Many patients are placed on cholesterol-lowering medicine.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • If you have diabetes, it is essential to keep your blood sugar under control by following the appropriate diet, checking your blood sugar level and taking your prescribed medicine.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity causes the risk factors to get out of control.
  • Exercise regularly to the best of your capabilities. Aerobic exercise is wonderful to reduce your risk factors. It will increase your good cholesterol also.
  • Manage stress. Stress can cause a temporary hike in your blood pressure and increase the tendency for blood clots. Use relaxation techniques and simplify your life as much as possible.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation if at all. Alcohol can be a risk factor, but it is also a preventive measure for strokes. Binge drinking obviously isn’t healthy. On the other hand, drinking a small to moderate amount can increase your HDL (good cholesterol), and decrease your blood clotting tendencies, plus it is also relaxing.
  • Don’t use illicit drugs, particularly cocaine or crack cocaine as they have been linked to TIA’s and strokes.
  • Many people take baby aspirin each day to prevent blood clots.

My Husband's Stroke

My husband had a stroke at the age of 59. He was a lifetime smoker until about 3 years before the stroke. He had normal blood pressure, is not a diabetic, but he had high cholesterol and a stressful job, which are all risk factors. One day he came home from work and said he was really tired, and he seemed a little unsteady on his feet for a few minutes. Now I know it was the only TIA he ever had. He said he felt better in a few minutes and got in the shower while I finished cooking dinner. We ate, watched a little TV and went to bed.

At 1 AM I heard him call my name, and he was on the floor totally paralyzed on the left side. I called 911, made my husband as comfortable as possible and woke up my elderly mother, who lives with us,to let her know what happened.

I quickly dressed before the ambulance arrived. My mother was also fully dressed and determined to go with me. When we arrived at the hospital we found out my husband could not receive the clot-buster drug because we really didn’t know what time the stroke occurred since he had been asleep. They had since lengthened the time allowed to get the clot-buster drug.

They put my husband on a Heparin drip (which is a strong blood thinner) and in the next 24 hours, he could move his left side, although it was very weak. We learned his right carotid article was almost completely blocked, which caused the stroke. He eventually had surgery to correct that problem.

Now, he can walk, but the stroke permanently affected his balance. He has fallen numerous times, fracturing a few ribs on one occasion in the first year. He is being more careful now and has not fallen recently. Physical rehabilitation helped tremendously. He also has some visual disturbance, but that has improved over time.

He will never be able to work again, but he certainly didn’t plan on retiring at age 59. It was difficult for him to accept some of his limitations and not too easy for me either. We have adjusted as well as we can and live each day to the best of our ability. After all, his limitations could have been much worse and we’re grateful that we have become comfortable with life as it is. Trusting God and acceptance is the key to our peaceful life.

Post Stroke Complications

Summary

It is a good idea to follow the guidleins to prevent a stroke. The prevention methods listed will also help prevent diabetes and heart disease. Remember the signs of a stroke as you may be with a friend or loved one when a stroke happens.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 04, 2021:

hi Alyssa,

I am so sorry to husband had a heart attack at 30 years of ag. That is so young! I think that is worse than my husbands stroke, which was so scary. He hs never been the same but he has improved.

You are so right about stroke. Knowing the signs and synprtoms at least might get you to a doctor for a TIA. I am so glad you found this article informative.

I appreciate your comments, as always. Stay healthy and safe!

Alyssa from Ohio on June 04, 2021:

Fantastic and informative article about strokes. I was surprised to learn that cocaine is linked to TIA's and strokes. My husband had a heart attack at 30 and I was terrified. I can only imagine how you were feeling as your husband had a stroke. 59 is young and I'm sure navigating in the years since has been hard on you both. It's wonderful to hear that he has improved and what a blessing to have each other, and your faith, to get through the difficult times.

Unfortunately, a stroke can happen to anyone, but knowing the signs and seeking medical attention as soon as possible is so important. Thank you for sharing this information!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 03, 2021:

Hi Rodric,

When my husband had his stroke it was a very difficult time in our lives. You can't just quit though, so you just get through it. The prayer helps so much.

I'm glad you haven't had a stroke, so I guess your doctor is being very careful with your health.

I am glad you benefited from this article. I was an RN, so I have seen other people with a stroke in my job.

Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comments.

Rodric Anthony from Surprise, Arizona on June 03, 2021:

Pamela, I have been checked multiple times for stroke, especially recently. I was touched by the information you provided, especially about the emotional trauma of store patients. I knew you had experience with it to have known what you know. I then read what your husband experienced and my heart goes out to you and your family. It is so difficult to deal with some of the emotional factors of disability. You are doing it. I am glad that you have God to strengthen you and your spouse through this challenge in life. Thanks for sharing such a personal experience with the world. I benefited from it.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 02, 2021:

Yes, I agree. Practising good health daily is paramount. And according to the WHO, health is not just the absense of disease. It is inclusive of a complete physical and mental well being.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 02, 2021:

Hi Devika,

Health is so important as you et healthy and take care of your body. It helps to prevent strokes and other diseases when we make healthy choices.

I appreciate your comments. Stay healthy!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 02, 2021:

Hi Pamela This is so important and well-informed indeed! Stroke Facts aren't always thought of or enlightened to an individual as you have stated in your hub. Health is important as what we eat and a balanced lifestyle tells us what we need to have that life. Your valuable hub is important for everyone.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 01, 2021:

Pamela, you're welcome. Have a nice time.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 01, 2021:

I always appreciate your comments also, Miebakagh.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 01, 2021:

Thank you so much for your comments. My husband is a borderline diabetic. he served in Vietnam, and I think many of his problems are due to Agent Orange.

However, the VA does not recognize a stroke or an aortic aneurysm, but if it had been an inch closer to his heart they would recognize it.

He has plaque all over his body, as he has a stent in his leg, etc It is very frustrating to us..

My husband is no longer depressed, and he has given up on the VA. Maybe that is good.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 01, 2021:

Pamela, thanks. And you're welcome always.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 01, 2021:

Pamela, thanks. And you're welcome always.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 01, 2021:

Pamela

It's not quite been a year so he is going through phases.

He found out he was diabetic, but that ship has sailed cause he us eating what he wants, but thankfully he doesn't drink. Unless when we dine out sometimes.

I am glad to hear your husband is no longer depressed

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 01, 2021:

Miebakagh, I am not sure a stroke can always be prevented, but it sure can be prevented most of the time.

https://hubpages.com/my/hubs/comments

I am sorry to hear about your mother.I think your corse work was very important. Thank you for sharing your personal experience.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 01, 2021:

Yes, Pamela. Different people experienced differently. I know of an in-law who babble all day long when stroke catch up with him. I tried my best to caution my mother from getting a stroke. But ignoring all my plea, the disease stroke her at 75. And she live a little long. Then she pass away. But before passing into the great beyound, hear her: 'He's writing a book to kill me!, refering to my project work while doing a course work in the university. I opined stroke can be prevent, and it's the responsibility of every person from 5 years up.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 01, 2021:

Hi Chitrangada,

I am glad you found this article informative, as this is scary health condition. It was a very difficult time when my husband had his stroke. I know he could have died from the stroke, but he didn't. He has balance problems and has fallen multiple times.

I'm sure you have seen people who have had a stroke and the effects can be very different from one person to the next.

Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comments. Have a good week!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 01, 2021:

Hi Brenda,

I relate so well to your situation. My husband has made a similar choice. He doesn't drink alcohol or smoke, but he eats whatever he wants. He really doesn't especially over eat though, but he figures he doesn't have that much time left because he is 74.

The first year after the stroke he use sat on thee couch and was terribly depressed. He did not tolerate antidepressant medications either. He isn't really depressed anymore, thank goodness.

Our lifestyle choices do make a difference. I knew about Ron's cancer, and I think of you often. I have prayed for you as I know this is a difficult time for you also. Thanks you for sharing your situation and commenting on this article. I hope you have a good week.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 01, 2021:

Hi Miebakagh,

Yes, we are Americans. I surely agree about prayer, and there was a lot of prayer for my husband. My husband could have died from that stroke, but he lived!

I am glad you have a healthy lifestyle as that goes a long way toward not becoming ill. I appreciate your comments. Have a good week!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on June 01, 2021:

Hi Linda,

It was several years ago, but he did improved. The VA had better physical therapy than our private insurance. So, he had physical therapy twice, and that made a big difference over time.

Thank you so much for your comments and concerns. I hope you have a good week.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 01, 2021:

A very well written and informative article about Stroke facts, causes, risk factors, prevention and treatments. So thoughtful of you to spread awareness about this scary health condition.

I am sorry to know about your husband. How difficult it must have been for both of you. But, good to know that he has adapted well. I wish him and you good health and comfortable life.

I have seen people suffering from strokes. Some have recovered from it, while others could not.

Thank you for sharing another wonderful and valuable article.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 31, 2021:

Pamela

This is a good article to inform people about strokes.

It is so hard to accept you can no longer work.

Ron went through this at the age of 60.

He was at work when his fingers and arm became tingly.

His hand actually went kinda numb, like it was dead for awhile. It was limp.

We were told at first he had TIA'S, but later that he had actual strokes. At least 8 of them show on MRI.

He was very fortunate, but then the stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis left him bewildered.

He tried to change his habits for awhile, but everything weighed too heavy on him.

He is doing whatever he wants for the rest of the time he has...this is his choice.

Your article points out valuable things in one's lifestyle that can be beneficial.

So sorry you both had to go through this life changing experience.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 31, 2021:

Pamela, I noted your husband had a stroke and was well taken care of medically. That you're adding prayer to the treatment is proof that God heals the sick. I don't know of any hospital or medical institution that opined God is out of the healing question. While in my 20's, I learnt and noted many things about stroke. Now I'm past 65. Still exercing, jogging and brisk walking a mile. Eating less fats, salt and sugar per MyPlate. Pamela, your article is very impressive health-wise. Were you an American? Happy Memorial Day to you!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 31, 2021:

I’m so sorry that your husband had a stroke. I’m glad to hear that he has been helped to some extent, though. Thank you for sharing the facts about the condition, Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Flourish,

Your husband's father had a stroke so young! I can only imagine the impact on your husband. I know how my husband's stroke impacted us. It is amazing your husband's father lived so long, or that he didn't have a second stroke.

Thank you for your comments. Have a good week!

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 31, 2021:

I’m sorry about your husband’s stroke and can imagine that his unplanned early retirement was difficult on you both. My husband’s father had a massive stroke at age 33 and had to learn how to walk, talk, and care for himself again. He suffered permanent left side impairment but remarkably outlived his wife and lived a fairly normal life. My husband’s life was dramatically impacted by having a father who was disabled to this extent.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Vidya,

I am glad you found the article informative. I assume you are on medication for your blood pressure, which is good. You might try deep breathing if you get stressed, which should lower your blood pressure. I hope you stay healthy, Vidya.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I always appreciate reading your comments.

Blessings.

VIDYA D SAGAR on May 31, 2021:

A very important and informative article Pamela and the statistics on it are so bleak. It's so scary because my BP is on the higher side always. I do take medicines for it and try to stay physically active. Your tips to avoid it are quite helpful. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi MG,

Strokes can bw deadly, but many survive. The effects totallyt depend on what area of the brain is affected.

Thank you for your comments.

Blessings for you.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Miebakagh,

I am glad you enjoyed the article. I appreciate your comments.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on May 31, 2021:

This is a very nice article. Many people known to me had a stroke but not much damage but I can understand a stroke can have a very deleterious effect. Remain blessed.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 31, 2021:

Pamela, I enjoy the read. Thanks.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Cheryl,

That is what happened to my husband also. he did survive but his balance is horrible and he still has some weakness on the left side. Men can be so stubborn! I am so sorry about your husband.

Thank you for commenting on this difficult subject. I hope you have a good week.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on May 31, 2021:

Thank you for this information. My husband was having vision problems throughout the day and insisted he was alright. By the time he got to the hospital, they said he missed his window of opportunity and they would not give him the medication to break up the blood clot.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Umesh,

Thank you for your nice comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Peggy,

Yes, it was a very difficult time. My husband was so depressed because he couldn't work, and of course, we were still putting money in our 401k. We survived however, and are okay.

A TIA is a clear warning sign. It is a shame your mother-in-law passed away like that. I appreciate your comments and for sharing your personal experience. Have a good week, Peggy.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Fran,

Of course, I didn't know you had a stroke, and I am sorry to hear that. I am glad you lived! My husband lost the use of his left hand for a while, and he received the use by cracking open pecans. We would buy a bunch and he would clean them up. I sold them at the fitness center. Obviously that is not the type of recovery you typically hear about, but it worked for him. His deficit is his poor balance.

Thank you for sharing your experience and for your comments. Have a good week!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Ms Dora,

I am glad you now have the information. You can have a stroke at any time around the clock. We think of a stroke as happening when you are emotionally or physically stressed, but that is not necessarily true.

I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I hope you have a good week.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 31, 2021:

Very nice. Well presented.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 31, 2021:

My mother-in-law had a couple of TIAs before the major stroke that finally took her life. I am sorry that your husband had to quit working at that age because of his stroke. I am sure it was an adjustment for all of you. Thanks for writing about this important topic, Pamela.

Happy Memorial Day!

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on May 31, 2021:

Well Pamela, another extremely useful detailed article. I had a stroke (the hemm one) and lost the use of my left arm but I was lucky, I lived but those in ICU with me weren't so lucky. I'm careful, avoid stress, take a blood thinner, etc but lucky I'm here. One learns to adapt to limitations. Thanks for your article. I type with one hand but am getting skilled at that inconvience.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 31, 2021:

Thanks for the warnings and prevention information. First time I've heard about having a stroke while asleep. I learned lots of important health facts from you. Thanks again.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Misbah,

I am sorry to say that your father is at a higher risk. I am so glad you found this article informative. I pray your father stays as healthy as possible.

Thank you for your comments and sharing about your father. I hope you have a good week.

Much love and blessings for you.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on May 31, 2021:

Thank you very much for taking the time to write on this important topic and for sharing your experience with us, Pamela. This is a very informative and helpful article for almost evryone. My father is diabetic and he has cholesterol problems along with high blood pressure. I always stay very worried regarding his health.

I have learned a lot from your article. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

God Bless you and keeps you and your loved ones safe

Much Love!!

Blessings always

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Peg,

I am sorry to hear of the incident with your husband. It could have been the medicine or it could have been a TIA. I would be sure to note any other symptoms, should they occur. I hope that won't happen.

I am glad this article gave you some important information. Thank you for sharing your experience e and free commenting. Have a good week, Peg.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Rosina,

I am glad you found this article informative. Strokes can be quit scary and it is good to understand the way to prevent them. Noting is 100%, but living healthy goes a long way toward prevention.

I appreciate you comments, as always my friend. I hope you have a good week.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 31, 2021:

Pamela, This article is truly an important one with key information to help if ever needed. I appreciate you sharing the incident with your husband and it opened my eyes about the possibility of strokes during sleep.

A few nights ago my hubby suddenly became dizzy, nauseated, sweaty, and unable to answer questions that I posed, using only one word answers. I was terrified that he might be having a stroke and wanted to call 911 but he wouldn't allow it. It took about 3 hours for him to feel better and tell me that he had taken some pain meds for his tooth ache. He is on a lot of other meds that must have interacted with this one. It was helpful to know the F.A.S.T. acronym when this happened.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

His Bill,

I didn't think you had the risk factors. As I said in the article my husband had quit smoking 3 years prior to the stroke, and he still doesn't smoke.

Thank you for your comments. I hope you have a nice Memorial Day.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Linda,

I am glad your brother survived, and he is the ripe old age of 92. It is very scary, and I know how I felt when my husband had a stroke. The 1 in 4 statistic is very frightening.

I appreciate your comments. Happy Memorial Day!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2021:

Hi Liz,

Yes, it was a shock and the first year was so difficult. My husband was so depressed. Eventually, he felt better and the depression lifted.

Thank you for your comments.

I also wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your last article. I have not been able to find it in my feed or I would have said something sooner. It was excellent, and very interesting.

Rosina S Khan on May 31, 2021:

This is a very important article about strokes. Yes, we should be aware of the guidelines and prevention methods all the time, whether with friends and loved ones or not. Thank you, Pamela, for sharing your insights and your husband's stroke experience as well. A very commendable and vital article.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 31, 2021:

Thank you for sharing your husband's experience with us. I'm of that age. Thankfully I do not have the risk factors, but I am fully aware that one day it could easily happen to me, or something similar. Anyway, an important article, and I thank you for it.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 31, 2021:

Pamela, thank you for taking the time to write about this important topic and for sharing your personal experience. The fact that 1 in 4 people will suffer a stroke is an amazing (and frightening) statement.

My brother had a stroke about a year ago (yes, the same brother who had Bell's Palsy 20+ years ago). He was watching TV and suddenly had the most horrible headache of his life. He called his daughter and son-in-law who live about a mile away. They called 911 and they and the paramedics arrived at the house at about the same time. He has suffered no ill effects--no loss of memory or motor skills--but he's 92 years old.

I hope you have a safe holiday weekend. My love to you and your husband.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 31, 2021:

Thank you for sharing your personal experience of a stroke. It must have been a big shock to wake up to a situationlike that. The frightening thing for me is how they so often seem to come unexpectedly. I once heard of someone who had a big life-changing stroke while doing up their shoe laces. This is an interesting, helpful and well-written article.

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